You have the power to change stuff. Thankyou.

“You have the power to change stuff. What is the stuff you want to change?” That was the opening challenge to Year 10 Humanities students from Kalvin Hart from Thankyou.

Thankyou is a social enterprise that was founded in 2008 by three young people, aged 19 and 20. The ‘stuff’ they wanted to address was the world water crisis and their vision is to unite humanity to end global poverty in their lifetime.

Thankyou decided they would use capitalism to help them change the problems of capitalism. Australia spends $600 million on bottled water a year. They boldly tapped into that market to make the money necessary to solve the inequality created in access to safe drinking water, distributing it to those most in need.

Kalvin told the students that you need to “take risks to chase your dreams’. The risk Thankyou took in 2011 was to get their customers to flood the management of 7ELEVEN with requests for them to stock Thankyou water. It worked. They then did the same with Coles and Woolworths in 2013. It’s called ambush marketing and it was unheard of ten years ago.

When Coles and Woolworths stocked their product, the young team realised that the growth of their charity was limited by their sales model. So, they diversified. Their founder wrote a book called, Chapter One. However, a bestseller In Australia only makes the writer $50,000 and they needed a lot more than that to achieve their aims. They improvised again by offering a Pay What You Want scheme for the book. They told people that this was an opportunity to not only buy a book but to contribute to humanity. The book has made $2.5 million so far!

The book funds allowed them to expand into NZ and to launch a range of baby care products, including wipes and nappies. And so their story goes on, full of innovation and active global citizenship.

For our girls, this was a great story in the study of ‘human wellbeing’, which is a large section of the Year 10 HASS Geography curriculum. It also has important links to Economics and Civics. The presentation from Thankyou enforced to them that the skills and world view you develop in HASS have a very real application in terms of both career options and the much greater aim of global citizenship.

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