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Oak Bay leaders pitch campaign to keep Ukraine schools running

Duo targets $20,000 to buy generators for 2 high schools in Ukraine
Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch and Oak Bay High principal Shawn Boulding are working together to support two high schools facing regular power outages due to the ongoing Russian invasion. (Courtesy District of Oak Bay)

A new Greater Victoria fundraising campaign aims to keep kids comfortable in a pair of Ukraine schools.

Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch and Oak Bay High principal Shawn Boulding are working together to support two high schools facing regular power outages due to the ongoing Russian invasion.

“We live in a community blessed with peace, financial stability and trustworthy infrastructure where we don’t have to worry about things as simple as power and heat on a daily basis,” Murdoch said in a news release.

The pair calls on Oak Bay High families and the greater community to help fundraise $20,000 to buy generators for two high schools in Ukraine. In the School to Shkola (shkola is Ukrainian for school) campaign, funding will buy and install two generators to maintain power during school days amid regular outages.

“This is an opportunity for our school community, parents, educators and everyone in the region who understands the importance of education to contribute. This will support youth, just like our youth, but growing up in a time and place of trauma and disruption,” Boulding said.

The fundraiser is part of a larger aid package, the third put together by West Shore community groups to bring medical equipment and other humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Former Langford fire chief Bob Beckett first visited Ukraine in June 2022 with Stew Young, then mayor of Langford, and volunteers from the charity GlobalMedic. During the trip, Langford signed sister city agreements with three Ukrainian cities. There were also agreements signed between SD62 and Ukranian school districts, as well as plans to provide firefighter equipment and food supplies.

RELATED: Group from Langford returns to Ukraine for humanitarian mission

Beckett developed a connection with the mayor of Kamin Kashyrsk, a Ukrainian town near the Belarus border who asked for help getting two diesel generators.

The School to Shkola campaign goal is to purchase generators and install them at the two high schools. The equipment would keep children in school doing the constant roaming power outages, to keep lights on in the bomb shelters during air raids and ensuring the schools can act as warming stations for the community through the coming winter.

“This is a chance to help youth in need, many of whom have had their families torn apart by the horrific war. Russia continues to attack civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine, causing rolling blackouts and the need for localized backup systems, and it’s good to know that we can make a tangible difference in keeping two schools running,” Murdoch said.

Boulding and Murdoch are leaning on Beckett and Bruce Brown who are managing the financials, and the Oak Bay High Student Leadership students who are assisting in the fundraising efforts.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay and Saanich mayors face off to help Hands for Ukraine

It’s not the first time the mayor has called on the community to support those living in Ukraine. Earlier this year, Murdoch and Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock pitted their communities in a battle of generosity ahead of the Oak Bay Tea Party. In a fun bet, the mayor who raised less funds for the Victoria Hand Project raced the annual teacup race wearing a prosthetic. The Victoria Hand Project is based out of the University of Victoria’s engineering lab wing on the Saanich and Oak Bay border. The non-profit organization provides 3D-printed prosthetics to amputees in developing countries with little to no access.

Together the communities raised more than $23,000 for the Victoria Hand Project’s Hands for Ukraine campaign.

Those looking to help can donate to the School to Shkola Keeping Lights On initiative online at While online payments are preferred, cheques made out to Langford Globalmedic Project with “School to Shkola” in the note can also be dropped off at Oak Bay High or municipal hall.

About the Author: Oak Bay News Staff

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