Explorers Connect

Pacific Ocean Row 2014: Four Teachers and an Online Classroom

CommunityJames Hipkiss

We are four teachers from the UK and South Africa who met whilst teaching in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and through the Royal Navy, where we started up our own environmental education charity called Oceans Project Georgia.

In May 2014, our 'Fourbirdsaboating' team will set off from Monterrey Bay, California, rowing in our 23 foot boat Mr Toad to Honolulu, Hawaii, and onwards to Cairns, Australia. We expect our journey to take around 8 months and we'll be teaching students worldwide, live from our online classroom (based in India) and visiting local schools en route. On the way home from Australia we'll be visiting some 4000 orphans across Thailand, many of whom lost family in a tsunami.

The aim of our ocean row is two fold: 1) to bring the outdoors in through the online classroom and 3D film footage, and 2) to raise funds to provide tablet computers to 300 schools, orphanages, and children's projects worldwide, so that they can receive education through our online classroom. Many of these young people currently have no access to formal education, or are isolated due to geographical location, poverty, gender, or disability. We are supporting and raising the profiles of three charities during the ocean row: Thai Children's Trust, First Step Georgia (children with disability) and our own charity Oceans Project Georgia. However, many of the 300 recipients of our educational materials, tablet computers, and science kit have been nominated by NGOS and in country partners such as Kaya Volunteering, but we also have UK schools involved, including a school in Southwark who are designing an expedition app as part of their IT curriculum.

This means that people who invest in us will be able to visit those recipients during their own working holidays, and will hopefully be keen to build up longer term links with those young people. We have yet to raise the money we need to build our boat, but once it is built, it will be available to future ocean rowers, free of charge for their own expedition (along with our kit, expertise, and contacts) on the proviso that they raise funds and the profiles of charities that we support, for example children, environment, health, and education.

To sponsor us please visit our Crowdfunding Page until 16th April 2013, attend our World Oceans Day afternoon tea event at Claridge's in London on 8th June, or attend one of our monthly film screening at the Regal Cinema in Henley On Thames on the 15th of each month. Follow our blog here. www.oceansproject.co.uk