News carrier delivers for South African kids

Oliver Dason delivers newspapers along his route on Oakdowne Road. He is using the funds earned to donate to a South African school.

Oliver Dason delivers newspapers along his route on Oakdowne Road. He is using the funds earned to donate to a South African school.

Spirit of Easter and Christmas alive all year for student

Not many 14 year olds would go to a grown-up meeting to hear about poor students in South Africa.

But when a neighbour asked Oliver Dason to go to a talk at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club last fall, he went along.

Former Victoria resident and philanthropist Carolyn Burns was speaking about students she was helping in the township of Slangspruit.

Students there get only one meal a day.

That seemed incomprehensible to Oliver, who was going through a growth spurt and felt hungry all the time.

“They have so little, it’s hard to imagine,” he said.

He decided to help out the students, raising money on his own to offer them festive meals at Easter and Christmas this year. He took on an Oak Bay News paper route, delivering to 46 homes twice a week in his Eastdowne Road neighbourhood. He’s also been collecting bottles, saving his monthly allowance and birthday money.

At the end of this month Oliver plans to send $350 to Burns, who will ensure the Easter feast of vegetables, rice and meat is dished up to 840 students in Kindergarten to Grade 7 at Slangspruit primary school.

A Grade 9 student at Glenlyon Norfolk school, Oliver will make a presentation to classmates about his project at the end of the school year. He also plans on keeping up with the paper route, in order to purchase first-aid kits for the school’s eight classes and to provide a second feast at Christmas.

In an e-mail, Burns said the children at Slangspruit primary “are so extremely touched that a young lad halfway around the world cares about them. This truly unites and connects the world and makes it a smaller place where we can join hands with the desire and effort!”

Oliver, meanwhile, is matter-of-fact about his fundraising activities.

“I wanted to help to give them a more nutritious meal so they know someone cares about them.”

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com