Braving the Waves: How the Bears of Brine Are Transforming Education in Lombok

Bears of Brine pose during their fundraising efforts for Classroom of Hope

It’s time to share the incredible journey of the Bears of Brine, nine dedicated swimmers from Perth who are making waves for Classroom of Hope! These inspiring individuals have already raised an astounding $90,100 out of their $122,000 goal, even before their first swimmer dives in this week.

With a passion for swimming and a heart for giving back, the Bears of Brine are taking on the monumental challenge of swimming the English and Bristol Channels to fund the construction of a four classroom Block School, with a teachers’ room and four new Block toilets in Lombok, Indonesia.

This extraordinary fundraiser by the Bears of Brine shows us that you can turn any passion into a force for good! Whether it’s swimming, running, baking, or any other activity, your efforts can make a difference.

Meet the Bears of Brine

Check out the Bears of Brine’s campaign video, made by Janine Sheen Photography & Films, to see their dedication in action and learn more about their incredible mission.

Who are the Bears of Brine?

These legends are not professional athletes; they are everyday heroes between 40-50 years old, who are all balancing jobs and families alongside their rigorous training schedules.

However, they are not new to challenging swims. Over the years, they have conquered some of the most grueling swim events in Australia, including the 20 km Rottnest Channel Swim, the 25 km Port to Pub ultra marathon, the 34 km Derwent River Big Swim, and the 24 km Palm to Shelly

Now, they are ready for a new challenge – conquering the English and Bristol Channels.

The Challenge Ahead

The English Channel, separating England and France, is a formidable 34 km (21.13 mile) swim with water temperatures ranging from 14-19 degrees Celsius and challenging cross tides. 

The Bristol Channel runs between Wales and England – from Glenthorne to Porthcawl. It’s 28 km (17.4 miles) in a straight line with extreme 14 metre changes in tides that swimmers need to endure.

Each swimmer has a designated window to complete their swim, ensuring they have the best possible chance of success. The team members and their swim schedules are as follows:

 

With each swimmer given a one-week weather window, the timing and conditions of the swims are crucial. If the weather isn’t favorable, they may have to wait for another tide or miss their opportunity entirely.

Most swims take between 10-18 hours to complete, a testament to their endurance and commitment!

Swimming for a Cause

As the Bears of Brine train and prepare for their big swim, they’re also united by a greater purpose—raising money to build a new Block School in Lombok with Classroom of Hope! 

This project involves building a school using earthquake-resistant blocks made from recycled plastic waste, collected from the oceans and lands of Indonesia.

The funds raised will go towards constructing a safe and sustainable learning environment, giving children the opportunity to gain an education and break the cycle of poverty. Not only will this initiative provide a safe learning environment for children, but it will also create jobs within the local community. 

The Story of Al Fatih Islamic Primary School

Located in a remote agricultural area of the Gangga district in North Lombok, Al Fatih Islamic Primary School is a beacon of hope for its 108 students.

The school, which incorporates both a standard public curriculum and some Islamic teachings, currently operates in extremely challenging conditions.

With six class groups but only two classrooms, classes are often held in outdoor shelters, a building terrace, and even a nearby mosque. This creates a disrupted learning environment that is not conducive to effective teaching and learning.

Our Project Proposal

Classroom of Hope and our local partner Happy Hearts Indonesia plan to provide Al Fatih Islamic Primary School with four new Block Classrooms (each fully furnished with desks, chairs, fans, and whiteboards) as well as a staff room and four Block Toilets! The new school building will feature an open terrace area out front and will be constructed using recycled plastic blocks that are earthquake-resistant and certified to last up to 100 years. Our local implementing partner will engage a trusted building contractor to coordinate the construction, ensuring the use of local materials and the recycling of existing materials wherever possible.

Even better – by using these blocks, we will be removing 6.7 tonnes of plastic waste and 45 tonnes of carbon from the environment!

An example of one of Classroom of Hope's previously built Block Schools.
An example of one of Classroom of Hope's previously built Block Schools.
The Wrap-Up

The Bears of Brine’s incredible journey is more than just a series of swims; it is a powerful statement about the impact that dedicated individuals can have on the world. Their fundraising success, even before the swims have begun, speaks volumes about their determination and the generosity of those who support them.

As Jimmy Clothier prepares to take on the English Channel this week, we at Classroom of Hope are immensely grateful for the efforts of all of the Bears of Brine and excited to see the positive changes that will result from their hard work.

Follow their Instagram page to stay updated on their progress and cheer on these incredible swimmers!

FAQ
How can I support the Bears of Brine fundraising effort and swim challenge?

You can donate directly through their fundraising page on the Classroom of Hope website. Sharing their story on social media and encouraging others to contribute is also a great way to support their cause. And – if you’re feeling motivated, you can even organise your own fundraiser to support Classroom of Hope!

What is Classroom of Hope?

Classroom of Hope is a non-profit organisation that envisions a clean world where every child thrives in safe, uplifting schools.

Our mission is to construct sustainable schools using upcycled materials. Through our Block Schools program, we create earthquake-resistant educational facilities while removing 1-2 tons of plastic waste from the environment per classroom.

When is the Bears of Brine swim challenge taking place?

The swim challenge is scheduled across several weeks, with individual swimmers having specific windows to complete their swims between July 10 and August 17.

How will the funds raised be used?

The funds will go towards building a five room Block School with four Block toilets in Lombok, Indonesia, using earthquake-resistant, recycled plastic building blocks. This project offers local students a safe and uplifting education while also supporting sustainable construction and helping to create jobs in the local community.

Why is this fundraising effort important?

Education is a fundamental human right and a key driver of sustainable development. By supporting Classroom of Hope, the Bears of Brine are helping to break the cycle of poverty and create opportunities for children to succeed and contribute to their communities.

The Bears of Brine are proving that with determination and community support, anything is possible. Join us in cheering them on as they take on this monumental challenge for a brighter future!

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