Weʼre raising £5,000 to build a community pool to teach children how to swim in rural Mozambique
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Hi, I’m Ursi and this year I’ll be participating in The Round The World Clipper Race and fundraising for Love the Oceans. I’m equally excited and terrified about what I have signed up for. The Clipper race is a record breaking 11 month 40,000 nautical mile race around the world on a 70-foot strippers down ocean racing yacht. Open to anyone who has a desire to challenge themselves and experience something extraordinary. I plan to complete two of the 8 racing legs which will see me crossing the 2nd largest ocean, the Atlantic, twice. Racing the first leg will take 32-38 days from London leaving September 1st, battling the doldrums and trade winds to Punta del Este in Uruguay. I will then rejoin the race for the homecoming leg 9 months later sailing from the East coast of the US back to the UK.
A stripped back yacht means no showers, shared bunk beds, constantly living at an angle, no luxuries, no privacy, being hot, cold wet and tired. I know this will be the toughest challenge I have undertaken. So why am I doing this you ask? Because I want to see if I can. Because I want to live to the fullest and push my own boundaries. Because I want to experience what it feels like to be surrounded by nothing but water for miles at end. Because I want to gaze up into the sky and see stars like never before. I want to experience what nature has to offer and explore and experience it in an unfiltered way. And I want to make a difference and do my bit in trying to preserve this beautiful ocean we have for generations to come.
I am fundraising for Love the Oceans, to help teach children in rural Mozambique to swim, thus enabling them to be active in the conservation of the marine life and resources they have at their door step. As David Attenborough said “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced".
What is Love The Oceans?
Love The Oceans is a non-profit marine conservation organisation working in Guinjata Bay, Mozambique. Guinjata Bay, whilst home to a huge host of marine life, has never been studied in depth for any prolonged amount of time. Love The Oceans hopes to protect and study the diverse marine life found here, including many species of sharks, rays and the famous humpback whales. We use research, education and diving to drive action towards a more sustainable future. Our ultimate goal is to establish a Marine Protected Area for the Inhambane Province in Mozambique, achieving higher biodiversity whilst protecting endangered species.
How does swimming come into it?
The Marine Protected Area will be achieved through a bottom-up community-led approach with eco-tourism being the main source of income, naturally, as a coastal community with incredible marine conservation flagship species. Since job creation will be in the eco-tourism sector and will be marine-based, a community that is able to swim is essential to it's success and the alleviation of poverty.
Currently we teach Sea Safety and deliver free swimming lessons to the school children on a weekly basis. Sea safety and swimming are essential skills that not only save lives, but also open a new avenue of possibilities: Despite the fact that 33% of the population lives within 25 km of the coast, approximately 95% of people in our area do not know how to swim. We are aiming to change this by giving free swimming lessons to the children from our local schools. The lessons are crucial, not just to improve water safety, but also to encourage the children to get in the water and hopefully spark their passion for the Ocean.
What's been done so far?
In August 2018 Love The Oceans’ ran the first season of Sea Safety workshops with the support of Angel Swim London, providing two weeks of free swimming lessons to over 200 children. As part of the workshop our Community Outreach Manager, Pascal Nhamussua, also achieved the internationally recognised STA Award in Teaching Swimming as the first Mozambique citizen. In 2019 Love The Oceans will be running another season of Sea Safety workshops and secure STA Awards in Teaching Swimming for a number of candidates from Love The Oceans’ Ocean Conservation Champions with the support of Angel Swim London.
Why is the pool so crucial?
Whilst this is all in the right direction, we have the capacity to be training and teaching many more children how to swim, and adults too, with the aim of getting everyone in the water. However, there is one major drawback: the pool. Currently we use a resort's pool which is very kindly leant to us for free on an ad hoc basis. However, the pool is miles away from the community, so it requires huge and expensive logistics on transport, and isn't available to the community to use whenever they desire. If we can build a community pool, it will be run by the community, for the community in a sustainable manner. It will provide jobs - through training as part of this project there will be pool maintenance keepers, maids, guards and swim teachers. This pool will be a sustainable, locally run initiative, run year-round, every day and will get many more people in the water, and then into the sea, creating jobs, alleviating poverty, and inspiring passion for the ocean and conservation of it's inhabitants.
The pool initiative will be run by our Community Outreach Manager and our Ocean Conservation Champions. You can read more about them here .
If you'd like to watch more about our swimming initiative you can do so here:
So, the creation of this pool is essential for the protection of Mozambique's marine habitat.
No one will protect what they don't care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced. - David Attenborough
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Oct 21, 2019
In celebration 🍾 of your triumphant arrival back on dry land - warm showers, cold beers and toilets you can sit on without requiring brace position... awesome achievement - you are an inspiration!
Oct 11, 2019
Someone once said it’s better to travel than to arrive. I guess you’ve had moments when you totally disagree, but well done you for doing it! An amazing trip xx
Oct 10, 2019
I’m so proud of you!! You are doing amazing!
Laura and Chris
Oct 10, 2019
What an amazing journey Ursi, on so many levels! X
Oct 7, 2019
Ursi, you absolutely rock!
Oct 2, 2019
You’re amazing! Boats scare the crap out of me but I did a catamaran sail and told myself if Ursi can do what she’s doing for weeks then I can do this tiny thing. Sail on, Queen!
Sep 26, 2019
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