Race for Dignity (R4D) is a spin-a-thon in which high school students across Canada ride stationary bicycles to raise money for HIV+ teens in Malawi. The initiative was started by University of Toronto (U of T) students inspired by Scott Simpson, a Canadian triathlete living with HIV who, angered by the unequal access to medications for HIV+ people in Africa, cycled in the Tour D’Afrique to raise funds and awareness. The initiative is led by Dignitas International, a Canadian organisation that provides lifesaving treatment for HIV+ teens at their Teen Club in Malawi.
R4D was first held at Laurier in 2011 as a Grade 12 International Baccalaureate (IB) Community Action Service (CAS) project. Since 2011, Laurier’s annual R4D event has raised over $20,000 to support the efforts of Dignitas International in Malawi. Although the Laurier R4D continues to be a Gr. 12 IB CAS project, with the organizational team led mainly by Grade 12 IB students, the event now includes many other Laurier students as participants, entertainers and members of the organizing team.
R4D has become a tradition at Laurier that brings together IB students and the rest of the Laurier student community as all students strive to become more well-rounded, knowledgeable, principled, caring, and reflective.
The 2016 event began in the auditorium where participants watched an informational presentation regarding HIV in Africa created by Laurier's very own True Blue Studios and listened to a powerful spoken word performance by Gr. 12 Laurier student Siona Shakyaver. The participants then followed a drummer playing traditional African rhythms to the girls’ gymnasium, where various stationary bikes were set up. The different teams, clad in creative costumes, rode stationary bikes for 90 minutes. While the teams rode their bikes they enjoyed fabulous entertainment by Laurier students and complimentary snacks. From dancing to singing to playing musical instruments to delivering spoken word pieces to doing yo yo tricks, the entertainers were engaging and gave the event a sense of fun. In between performances, participants not riding were cheering on their team mates and dancing to popular music.
The October 2016 event raised about $1,700.00.
We offer our thanks to everyone who donated their time and/or money to make Laurier's 2016 R4D a success and encourage everyone to support the 2017 R4D in every way possible.
Laurier IB Writing Team