The fundraising initiative that is leveraging modern cricket’s big-hitting to drive even bigger changes for women and families in the developing world has turned personal.
In addition to the feel-good factor that Batting for Change provides for fans of the KFC Big Bash League as they pledge donations for every six belted by the Sydney Sixers franchise, they can now align themselves with the batsman they believe will clear the boundary most often.
Quick Single: Carters not your average cricketer
And Ryan Carters, who two years ago established the charity which to date has raised around $170,000 and funded education-based programs in Nepal, India and now Sri Lanka, has thrown his support behind Sixers skipper and teammate Moises Henriques to lead the charge.
Although he is expecting Henriques' tally of sixes will be regularly challenged by the other 'trump' players nominated on the Batting for Change website, veteran 'keeper Brad Haddin, Test aspirant Nic Maddinson and middle-order hitter Jordan Silk.
Carters visited Mumbai in August // Batting for Change
Not only does the website enable supporters to pledge donations and track the number of Sixers' sixes, it provides a running tally of how much each of the ‘trump’ players will raise every time they lift the ball beyond the rope.
"I've decided to leave it to the other guys who generally bat above me for the Sixers, so if they do their job I won't be needed that much," Carters said on Friday ahead of the formal launch of Batting for Change’s latest fundraising drive that coincides with the start of BBL|05.
"The trump player is a new concept that runs in conjunction with the previous initiative whereby fans can pledge a donation of any amount per six that the Sixers team hits.
"We've also identified a new project to benefit from our fundraising which is the Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka that has been helping villages damaged by the 2004 tsunami for more than a decade.
"It offers scholarships to young women who have grown up in poverty and whose dream it is to go to university."
The new project aims to raise sufficient funds to help 100 women from across Sri Lanka to pursue their aspirations for tertiary education that would otherwise remain beyond their grasp.
Which, coupled with an ongoing initiative in India, means life-changing education and career opportunities will be created for around 600 women from funds raised this year.
Since Carters launched his unique vision to literally ‘cash in’ on the huge appeal of the BBL and provide fans at the games or watching from home with a means of being part of the competition as well as a worthwhile cause, the concept has grown exponentially in scope.
Quick Single: Carters continues to bat for change
The first year, run in conjunction with BBL|03 (in which Sixers players clubbed a total of 23 sixes) it exceeded its forecast fundraising goal of $30,000, and last year that total grew to more than $103,000 with his teammates more than doubling their quota of big hits (47 in BBL|04).
In addition, the inaugural Batting for Change XI cricket match played earlier this year – which featured Carters and his New South Wales teammates Ed Cowan, Maddinson and Josh Lalor along with Southern Stars ‘keeper Alyssa Healy and rugby league heroes Brett Kimmorley and Matt Cooper – yielded a further $30,000.
With that concept likely to be developed further in the near future.
The money raised has now funded the construction of new classrooms at the Heartland School in Kathmandu, Nepal which is providing otherwise disenfranchised students an opportunity to complete Year 11 and 12 level education.
And the charity has recently provided financial assistance to the SPRJ Kanyashala Trust based in Mumbai, which has helped around 500 women attain degrees in arts, science or commerce at undergraduate level.
Pledging to Batting for Change is now live! This Sydney Sixers season, our goal is to raise $120,000 to support the education of 600 young women in two outstanding LBW Trust education projects in India and Sri Lanka. Watch this short video of Ryan Carters visit to Mumbai to see how your small change really can help change lives.Visit www.battingforchange.com.au to make your pledge today.Posted by Batting for Change on Thursday, 10 December 2015
Carters said the decision, in concert with Batting for Change’s official charity partner the LBW (Learning for a Better World) Trust to fund educational opportunities for young women often prevented from accessing higher education is strategically designed to gain maximum benefit from every dollar raised.
"Women’s education transforms communities," said Carters who visited both the Heartland School (which survived Nepal’s devastating earthquake of last May largely intact) and the facility in Mumbai earlier this year to gauge the contribution those donations are making.
"If you educate a woman who has grown up in poverty, not only will she be able to live a fuller and more independent life but the chances of her family being happy, healthy and well educated massively increase as well.
"So it effects the next generation as well as the current one, as it delivers ongoing benefits and not just immediate returns.
"I visited Mumbai in August this year and was just blown away by the young women that I met there.
"They were very articulate and brave in the way they explained the challenges they faced and also their dreams for the future and how grateful they are for the help that we're able to provide.
"So I'm really excited that we can help another 500 women who will be starting university the following year."
Carters, who earlier this summer combined with Australia’s T20 skipper Aaron Finch to set a new record for the highest opening partnership in a first-class match played in Australia (457), is thankful for the support his initiative has received.
In particular from his fellow NSW Blues and Sixers teammates who have not only bought into Batting for Change's ambitions and campaigns but have also appeared in videos to promote awareness of how to pledge donations through the charity’s website.
And amid all that, Carters continues to pursue his own individual aspiration as a cricketer that has already seen him named NSW’s Sheffield Shield Player of the Year in 2013-14 and the Blues' one-day player of the year last summer.
"The way the community of cricket followers have got behind the concept has been just outstanding," Carters said ahead of the Sixers opening match of their BBL|05 campaign.
"Firstly my teammates have been a great help and a great support, but also the people who follow the Big Bash League from home or in the stands have been willing to pledge maybe just $1 per six have really embraced it which is so great to see.
"When you add that up during the course of the season and all the people who donate it can make a huge difference to these women and students in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka."