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Brazil programme reaches its half decade

Now running for five years, SwimTakya’s partnership with Brazil-based charity ETIV do Brasil ensured around 150 children were taught to swim on the 2023 programme alone.

Based in Itacaré, Bahia, the programme runs from September to November, during which children in the area are given access to free swimming lessons and education in drowning prevention.

 “Our work with SwimTayka brought immense joy and fulfilment to our team, and our partners have said that the time spent working with us on these projects is often the most memorable moment of their year,” said Jana Garcia, SwimTayka programme coordinator and president of ETIV do Brasil. “Seeing the smiles and laughter of the young children as they learn to live safely around water motivates us to continue working towards our future goals.”

The 2023 programme was supported by a civilian firefighter and lifeguard, who educated the children on drowning prevention. They visited both the river and the beach, familiarising the children with potential risks and imparting crucial knowledge about water safety.

The children also took part in first aid training, learning skills including CPR, providing first aid for burns caused by jellyfish and cuts from coral, and how to handle situations involving surfboards and boats. 

The swimming lessons themselves were held in the pool, focusing on building confidence in the water, instructing flotation techniques with and without equipment, breathing exercises, leg and arm movements, culminating in various swimming styles: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly; always emphasizing the importance of water safety.

After learning and mastering skills in the pool, the children were taken to the beach, for the chance to swim in the sea.

Everyone was welcome to the lessons. The youngest were in a group called Little Fishes for the five to seven-year-olds; one mother accompanied her three-year-old son to the lessons, who has cerebral palsy; and there was a group for teenagers and young people experiencing anxiety.

As a finale, the children had the chance to swim in a semi-Olympic pool, where they were assessed and awards were given out, not just to those who were the most able swimmers, but to those who had put in the most effort – and to those who had been the best behaved! This not only provided an enriching swimming learning experience but also celebrated individual achievements in essential areas for the overall development of the children.

One challenge was the language barrier between the volunteers from the UK and the children, so for the 2024 programme there are plans to offer Portuguese lessons to volunteers.

Jana said: “This means not only will the volunteers have a great cultural experience during their visit to Brazil, they’ll begin to learn a new language.”

A big thank you to the ETIV do Brasil team, the SwimTayka team in Brazil and all our amazing volunteers who made Brazil 2023 such a great success.Why not join us for the 2024 programme? You can register your interest here.