Sophie launches 'Properties for Promise', organises bushfire rebuild Sophie launches 'Properties for Promise', organises bushfire rebuild

After hearing stories of families who had lost everything to the bushfire crisis that ravaged Australia in January, Sophie Clements knew she had to take action. 

The sixteen-year-old St Rita’s College student then hatched a plan – on a napkin! 

“I came up with the idea of building a house for someone as it felt more personal than donating money,” Sophie said. 

Sophie decided that if she could enlist the help of businesses and tradespeople willing to offer their services at cost price, she could significantly cut costs for families who had to rebuild after losing everything. 

“We were in Noosa at the time so I read news articles, called the Council and spoke to local journalists to determine who needed a hand,” she said. 

Sophie reached out via Facebook to Cooroibah family Holly and David Kemp, who were in the midst of renovating their home before it was destroyed in November. 

Holly and David Kemp at their home in Cooroibah just after the fires.

“That’s how it all started; David and his family told me later they were amazed at my offer but reluctant in case it wasn’t legitimate,” she said.

She then recruited the help of her father, builder Scott Clements (Scott Clements Construction), who told Sophie he would help her make her idea a reality if she could provide him with a feasibility plan.

“The name Properties for Promise came about because we are promising hope to those who need it the most,” she said.

“We have now reached out to over 50 businesses Australia-wide and have a team full of trades providing their services at cost price.

“This means they still get paid completely, but are doing it without the massive profit margins.

“We’re flattening the land and laying the slab at the moment, and I’ve prepared a script about what Properties for Promise is all about and continue to reach out to businesses for donations and vouchers.”

Sophie said she had applied skills from what she had learned from subjects at school to run the foundation. “I’ve created a lot of spreadsheets, so what we have covered in Maths and Accounting has really helped me,” she said.

 “I’ve also been able to use the marketing skills I’ve learned in business to market the initiative to companies; I send them PowerPoints and posters explaining the initiative.”

Needless to say, Holly and David Kemp are overwhelmed by the support of Sophie and the involved businesses and tradespeople, which has saved them around $150,000 in building costs.

“After everything that’s been happening in the world throughout the year, it’s pretty amazing to think I’m just one person but I am capable of making a massive difference in this family’s life,” Sophie said.

“It’s really special to think that I am able to help other people and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

Sophie hopes to build more houses for bushfire-affected families through Properties for Promise.