The series, beginning in June, follows Bill and Tani Austin and their son Steven Sawalich from the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a global non-profit which gives free hearing aids to those in need, as they are joined by celebrities and philanthropists to tackle some of the most challenging issues plaguing our world today.
Operation Change gives folks unprecedented access to some of the world’s most dangerous, desolate and poverty-stricken places. The series features former president Bill Clinton, Sirs Elton and Richard Branson, the Dalai Lama, Donna Karan, and Harry Connick, Jr., among others, each working to benefit a different region and local organisation. From the West Bank of Palestine to the wilds of Papua New Guinea, this documentary series reveals the untold stories of some of the world’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, as well as its greatest heroes.
“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 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.”
“Working with this family, and supporting their efforts through the Starkey Hearing Foundation, has been an incredibly uplifting experience for me,” stated Elton. “When people are cared for and not forgotten, their human spirit comes alive, and that’s why when they approached me, I had to be a part of ‘Operation Change.’ I know everyone who watches this series will want to be a part of it as well. My friend Oprah Winfrey‘s network, OWN, is the perfect vehicle for this groundbreaking series.”
“Our family has always found fulfillment in helping others,” said Steven Sawalich, an executive producer of the show. “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.”
Each week, Bill Austin, his family, volunteers and a different celebrity/philanthropist will partner with local organisations that are working to empower their community. Throughout the hour, they work together to complete a sustainable project that will help enhance the lives of people in need. The family will immerse themselves in local cultures and experience firsthand what life is like for people in that region.
The series kicks off on June 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, although viewers are urged to check local listings.