Vital People: Support Soweto Junior School ‘Dipping for Dinners’ fundraiser

Vital People: Support Soweto Junior School 'Dipping for Dinners' fundraiser

Bundled up on a frigid, below-seasonal day in Victoria, you wouldn’t think this is a good time to go for a swim in the ocean, but Laura Thomson loves cold water dipping.

“I love how it makes you feel,” Laura says. “It makes you feel very alive and invigorated!”

And the dips are raising money for a good cause. Laura’s plunging 40 times in 40 days for the second annual Support Soweto Junior School ‘Dipping for Dinners’ Fundraiser.

If people would like to donate, we’re asking 50 cents a dip, so by the end of my challenge, that would be $20, which would feed one child for one month, which is amazing!” Laura says. “You can make a big impact with the $20 donation.”

Soweto Junior School is a primary school on the outskirts of Nairobi and supports 300 children. The average family there earns less than $2 a day, and for most children, the only meal they get is at school.

“They really are very impoverished,” Laura explains. “They live in Kiberia, which is the largest slum in Africa. They have no running water ad no electricity at the school.”

“We’re so privileged here in Victoria and in Canada in general, and it doesn’t take much to make a big difference,” adds Sabine Laubental, who started the Support Soweto Junior School non-profit two years ago to raise money for the school’s meal program.

I’ve got my own trials and tribulations being legally blind, but I thought if I could start a little grassroots organization, it gives me a purpose and it helps them,” Sabine explains.

For Laura, who was born in Africa, it’s a cause close to her heart.

“It does make you feel choked up when you think about how lucky we are here,” Laura says. “We probably spend $20 on a few cups of coffee, and yet that feeds a child for a whole month. You’re going to get me crying again! It can really make a difference.”

The non-profit sends $500 a month to the school, and Sabine says Laura’s dipping for dinners fundraiser will make a big difference.

“I laugh and say, ‘how much would people donate to not have to jump into the ocean for 40 days?” Sabine jokes. “She is just amazing! It is just so amazing what she does. She’s a real hero as far as I’m concerned!”

Laura will be dipping every day until Easter Sunday, and she says people are welcome to join her at Little Ross Bay Beach between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. each morning.

“The dipping makes you feel cold and making some fundraising out of this makes me warm and grateful that I can make a small difference,” she says.

Here’s information on how to donate.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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