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A Helping Hand… Sophie Bartho and One Dollar Day

By Georgia Swanborough on July 24, 2012 in People

Photo: Grant Brooks

Sophie Bartho, along with Robert Wilcher, founded the fundraising event One Dollar Day (1$Day Limited) when they considered the global inequities in children’s health and education relative to their three children. As typical Australian kids, they enjoy a great education at the local public school, access to excellent healthcare, nutritious food and a safe home in a peaceful country. The fact that not all children have access to and benefit from these same basic rights of life compelled them to act.

Tell us about 1$Day in a paragraph…
1$Day is the one day every year when we ask everyone who can to give just $1 for those who can’t, whether you’re a CEO or a kid with pocket-money. Fundraising can be expensive, and perpetuates our consumerist culture by selling merchandise, but on 1$Day all you have to do is give a dollar. 1$Day – when every 1 counts – every dollar and every life.

Who are you helping?
1$Day’s mission is to reduce the global inequities in children’s health and education. It is not acceptable that 67 million primary school-aged children are not in school, and 7.6 million children die every year from preventable diseases before their fifth birthday. Collectively we can change these inequities, both here in Australia and overseas.

How long have you been going for?
Rob and I started working on the concept five years ago after I had the classic midlife evaluation/ crisis/turning point.

What was the inspiration to start 1$Day?
We were inspired by our three children. Why do they get to go to school when millions of children don’t? And why do they have access to excellent healthcare when millions of children still die from pre- ventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia? Children don’t choose their circumstances, they are merely born into them, and our kids are three of the lucky ones.

What have been the most difficult challenges you’ve faced with 1$Day?
There have been two significant challenges – time and money! Getting it off the ground with minimal expenditure and no staff, while we both work full-time and raise our three kids, has meant that we have not been able to grow as fast as we would have liked. The money challenge refers to maximising the efficiency of every donation because we are asking for only $1. We are committed to maximising the efficiency of every dollar donated.

What’s the best thing about 1$Day?
It’s simple, it’s an equaliser and it’s so affordable – just $1.

Have you got any fundraising events coming up?
1$Day is coming up on Wednesday, July 25.

Do you get any assistance from the government?
No.

Are you affiliated with any religious organisation?
We have no affiliation with any religious organisations because children do not choose their circumstances, or their religion; they are merely born into them.

What’s your medium-to long-term plan for 1$Day?
Our short-to medium-term plan for 1$Day is to get $1 from every Australian. And in 1-2 years we aim to launch One Pound Day (1£Day) and One Euro Day (1€Day). Imagine the collective potential of this compellingly simple concept!

How can Beast readers get involved?
Beast readers can get involved in three easy ways:
1. Give your dollar to 1$Day Limited at any CBA or ANZ bank or by visiting www.onedollarday.org.
2. Join us as a 1$Champion and collect $1 from all your friends, family, work colleagues or schoolmates.
3. Help spread the word through Facebook and Twitter – tell everyone you know who can spare $1 on 1$Day, when every 1 counts.

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