Operation Change, a 10-part documentary series, premieres on Monday, June 23 on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
The series follows Bill and Tani Austin along with their son Steven Sawalish from the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a non-profit organization that distributed free hearing aids to those in need. Celebrities and philanthropists join them as they tackle the most challenging issues in the world today. They include President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Elton John, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Donna Karan, and Harry Connick, Jr. among many others. They are all working to benefit different regions and local organizations from the West Bank of Palestine to the wilds of Papua New Guinea.
“Hearing loss is a global epidemic, impacting more than 360 million people worldwide, yet it can often be helped. Hearing aids empower people to better connect with their families, communities, and the larger world,” said President Bill Clinton. “I have seen first-hand the amazing impact that the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Starkey Hearing Technologies are having on people all around the world. I am lucky to call Bill and Tani Austin as well as Steven Sawalich my friends. And I am proud of the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with them and this work. It’s empowering people to live more independent, prosperous, joyful lives.”
The series affords viewers the chance to see some of the world’s most dangerous, desolate and poverty-stricken locations. Viewers will hear the stories of some of the world’s insurmountable challenges and its greatest heroes.
“Our family has always found fulfillment in helping others,” said Steven Sawalich, of Starkey Hearing Foundation and CEO/President of Articulus Entertainment. “Through our charitable efforts, we have seen firsthand the needs and challenges people face all over the world. With the help of some of our celebrity supporters and local partners, Operation Change chronicles how together we can make a difference in the lives of people around the globe. We are thrilled to share this emotionally-compelling series with OWN viewers.”
Every week, Bill Austin, his family, volunteers and a different celebrity/philanthropist will work with local organizations that aim at empowering their communities. They will work on creating sustainable projects to enhance the lives of people in need. They will learn the local cultures and get firsthand experience on the lives of the people in that region. The series includes the following regions Haiti, Colombia, India, South Africa, Lebanon, Malaysia, Israel and Palestine, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea.
Articulus Entertainment produces Operation Change. It is executive produced by Steven Sawalich, Natalee Watts and Teri Weinberg. Co-executive producer is Melinda Cea.