I AM WATER: Teaching kids to fall in love with the ocean

On December 1st, Dear Rae launched its Ode to the Ocean SS18 collection. Although essentially inspired by all that is sand, sun and ocean, what really pushed this range into motion was the unforgettable experience with the I AM WATER Foundation – founded by none other than world-renowned freediver and one of Condé  Nast Traveller Magazines’s World’s Best Travellers, Hanli Prinsloo.


After breaking all of South Africa’s freediving records, diving up and down a rope to various depths was losing its appeal, for Hanli. Having utilised her body’s diving abilities to experience and interact with the whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and other creatures that live in the ocean wilderness, Hanli’s encounters deepened her desire to take care of the seas. And she wanted others to experience this connection, as well.


This inexplicable drive led to the founding of I AM WATER – a South African Non-Profit Organization, established in 2010. I AM WATER teaches children from underprivileged coastal communities to fall in love with the sea, through transformative ocean experiences.


Hanli’s first group of kids came from the township of Masiphumelele in Cape Town. Although these children were in close proximity to the ocean, they knew very little of it. Thanks to Hanli, they soon fell in love with all that was oceanic: the sea, the rock pools, the seals and the kelp forest.


From this point forward, the I AM WATER movement began to spread.







Words from Karin Rae…


“The moment I heard about the I AM WATER foundation, I instantly felt inspired to collaborate with them. Hanli Prinsloo has built an incredible foundation with amazing principles that is so clearly portrayed in all that they do. Hanli and I met up for a coffee – and the connection was immediate – values and outlooks aligned.


Spending a day at the I AM WATER workshop was an absolute privilege. Everything was so beautiful and well put together, with a huge consideration towards safety and comfort – allowing the children to have a truly memorable experience.


Meeting Lauren and the coaches at St James was just wonderful. Not only did they have a deep passion for ocean conservation, but they engaged with the children with such ease and love.


The playful session of yoga and breath work was a great start, shifting all our energy to one of calm focus. After that, we then went into a conversational education session about the possible creatures we could find on our rocky shore – much like my dear dad had done with me, growing up. I learnt so much from this session – especially about the amazing intelligence of an octopus!






I was positioned at the snorkelling station where we slowly introduced the kids to using their goggles and snorkels, whilst floating on the surface. This was an absolute highlight for me, seeing their uncomparable delight and joy in floating in the ocean water. I even had the privilege of teaching a little girl how to swim.


The day ended with a feedback session where all the kids were encouraged to listen to each other’s take on the day – learning even more skills in communication and active listening.


I left feeling excited, inspired and hopeful about our community, and the possibility for us all to celebrate the ocean once more.”






If you’d like more information on how you can support the I AM WATER foundation, click here.


To peruse our SS18 Ode to the Ocean collection, inspired by I AM WATER, click here.




I AM WATER Ocean Guardians workshop in Cape Town from I AM WATER Ocean Travel on Vimeo.