When Carrie Bickmore announcing the launch of a new UNICEF campaign on The Project last week, the response was incredible.
Phone lines jammed. The UNICEF website crashed. And thousands of people all over Australia began hashtagging their dinners to raise money to help kids in Africa.
No one is more thrilled than Bickmore. However, the Channel Ten TV presenter has revealed the emotional reason she got behind the charity in the first place.
In an exclusive interview with marie claire, Bickmore revealed that she underwent a traumatic experience just days after giving birth to her eldest son.
"I had a severe haemorrhage 10 days after the birth of my son Oliver and if had I not been able to head straight to a hospital and have an operation and blood transfusions, I would have died.”
Bickmore explains that the experience brought home the difficulties faced by women and mothers in the developing world.
"Maternal and neo-natal tetanus is one of the highest reasons for mortality in developing countries, and so when UNICEF asked me to be involved in a maternal and neo-natal program they were running, I jumped at the chance and have continued to support them since."
Bickmore's latest campaign for UNICEF is #DonateYourDinner campaign. The premise is simple: people can share photos of their finished dinner plate on Instagram with the hashtag #DonateYourDinner, then donate the value of their dinner to Donateyourdinner.org. By tagging three friends as well, they can spread the word!
So far, more than $100,000 has been raised - and the money goes to help 26 million malnourished children in Eastern and Southern Africa who have struggled through food crisis one of the worst droughts in decades.
"I have often felt like the problem was too big, like no little donation I made could solve the huge problems facing millions of children and families around the world," Bickmore told us. "Then I realised it wasn’t my little donation alone that would help, it was all of our little donations together that could make a huge impact.
"I also saw how little can go a long way to change a life. A few dollars can provide a safe birthing kit for mums with sterile mats and scissors which would mean mums and their babies had a much better chance at life. A few dollars can vaccinate a child, and give them a better chance at staying healthy and staying alive."
One of the greatest strengths of this campaign is that it allows people to imagine how a small donation (the value of their dinner) can make a big difference to the lives of children in the affected areas of the food crisis. Carrie Bickmore stresses that this can make the difference to saving a life.
"A few dollars can provide a safe birthing kit for mums with sterile mats and scissors which would mean mums and their babies had a much better chance at life. A few dollars can vaccinate a child, and give them a better chance at staying healthy and staying alive.
"We can all feel helpless sometimes, the problem feels too big, but I would rather feel helpful than helpless."
Watch the announcement on The Project here: