Image Credit: Akilah Institute
Making a change.
As a proudly ethical company with a focus on making a noticeable difference to wellbeing, Sodashi is so proud of our partnership with online changemaker initiative, i=Change.
Recognising that there was an opportunity to improve the lives of the underprivileged and that people were open and willing to aid the realisation of this change, i=Change is designed to create an effective way to give back via a platform we use every day; e-commerce.
We sat down with i=Change Founder, Jeremy Meltzer, to discuss the inspiration behind the cause, his proudest moments along the incredible journey of i=Change and the tangible difference made through the initiative to date.
What was the primary catalyst or reason for creating i=Change?
The i=Change journey began over 20 years ago in Havana Cuba, although at the time I wasn’t aware of the impact this experience would have and how it would change my life. Cuba opened my eyes to violence against women and its terrible frequency. I left Cuba shocked and angry.
Over the following 15 years, I’d take every opportunity to travel to meet local NGO’s, learn about the inequalities facing women in their community- and how I could possibly help. Each organisation was doing their best to create change, although they all needed more funds to accelerate their impact. Many years later, when I started an olive oil business with my father, I had an idea at 3 am one morning. What if our business gave back $1 from every purchase and we made it simple for customers to choose where it goes? The idea for i=Change was born.
What is the proudest moment you’ve had working at i=Change?
There are so many! From signing our first retail partner to now surpassing over $712,000 raised to help empower women and girls. This is a funding stream that didn’t exist before. We know these funds are positively impacting the lives of over 135,000 people.
Mostly though, it’s the chance to look in the eyes of one woman, as I did not long ago in Rwanda. Sitting with Shema at the Akilah Institute in the capital Kigali, knowing in a small way we’ve contributed to helping her realise her potential by remaining at school. These are the moments that matter. This makes all the hard work make sense.
What specific projects have money donated via Sodashi’s i=Change partnership helped with?
Sodashi supports three wonderful projects via i=Change. Customers get to choose where Sodashi’s donation goes - to which of these projects, after checking out at sodashi.com.au. The three projects Sodashi felt passionate about are ‘build a woman’s future’ which educates girls in Rwanda, ‘protect children’ which helps prevent child abuse, and ‘feed Aussie’s in crisis’ helping Australians experiencing food distress.
Sodashi has already provided over 2,100 meals with Foodbank Australia and provided almost 100 days of school for a girl in Rwanda!
What are the next steps for i=Change in the future? What does the next chapter look like?
The future is exciting.
Some very humbling milestones are upon us. We’re fast approaching $1 million raised to empower women and girls, accumulated $1 at a time - which is incredible! It shows the power of commerce. How customers want to buy from brands committed to a purpose beyond their product. Customers are also forming passionate tribes around brands authentically committed to giving back. Sodashi is a remarkable example of this commitment.
We’re growing very rapidly, so you’ll see lots of new retailers and content, as we share stories of impact ‘from the field’. Our in-store solution is in development too, which will accelerate our impact on the lives of women and girls in the developing world, to help remove some of the ancient (yet powerful) structures that hold them back.
I’ll be off to visit another of our projects in the not-too-distant future, which is always a very moving experience.
Through which other methods can Sodashi customers contribute to i=Change initiatives in future?
We always love to see customers engaging further and there are so many different ways they can contribute!
Customers can add a donation - in addition to Sodashi’s - after every purchase to the project they chose.
Customers can continue to #shopforchange and explore our marketplace of retailers who are all committed to giving back with every sale.
Tell other retailers to join the movement! There’s an exciting customer nomination campaign coming up. So stay tuned :)
To find out more about i=Change or to view the incredible impact Sodashi customers have had to date, click here.