For most people, childhood ingrained “thank you” into our vernacular, with the words tumbling out of our mouths more frequently than we can count. However, the sad irony is, that for all the things for which we articulate “thank you”, the fundamental necessities – clean water, adequate food and basic hygiene – are rarely among them.
In his first year of a Bachelor of Project Management in Construction, co-founder and now managing director of Thankyou, Daniel Flynn, realised millions of people the world over don't have these necessities.
“I was researching for an assignment and discovered that 900 million people didn’t have access to safe water at that time,” he says. “Not only that, around 450,000 people die every day of waterborne diseases.”
These figures prompted the 19-year-old and some of his friends to change the world, one bottle of water at a time.
Learning that Australians spend $600 million annually on bottled water, the enterprising teens started up a bottled water company dedicated to funding safe-water projects in developing nations.
“But we needed start-up capital,” explains Flynn, “so we pitched the vision behind our idea to a factory that came on board, promising no up-front costs. Then, because they’d partnered with us and we had a bit of credibility, another factory donated 30,000 bottles and an unused bottle mould. From there, we got a distributor involved.”
A social enterprise, Thankyou supports projects by already- established charities, operating on what is known as a “project-based model”, Flynn explains,
“We receive project proposals from various charities, and if the project meets our criteria we fund it.” Some of the high-profile organisations Thankyou works with include Oxfam, Red Cross and World Vision.
Now one of Australia’s most successful social enterprises, Thankyou has diversified its product range to include food and body care products – the ethos of the product range stemming from world health needs.
“There’s a need to fund water, food and health programs,” says Flynn, “so we want our products to relate to these.”
Many people across the world have Flynn and his team to thank for helping them out of dire circumstances or simply engaging our social conscience. When asked what he’s thankful for, Flynn says, “I am thankful that I get to wake up every day and work on something that is having an impact beyond me.”
For something we say so robotically, thank you can be a powerful statement.
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