The children and families loved the programme! Several children and family members shared stories about the transition of some children from being scared to put their face into the water, to being strong swimmers at the end of the course. Numerous children said that SwimTayka was their favourite programme out of everything that ETIV-do-Brasil offers, and they keep asking when and if the swimming classes are going to happen again.
ETIV-do-Brasil had more volunteers, parents and local Brazilian volunteers than ever before for the SwimTayka programme. The volunteers loved the programme and talked about how good it was for the children and the community. Many local volunteers pointed out how lots of locals never learn how to swim even though Itacare has many rivers and world-famous surf beaches. The majority of children dream of learning to surf too, but they still don’t know how to swim!
A few male volunteers noted how the Swim Tayka programme got a lot more boys involved when previously they preferred playing soccer. ETIV-do-Brasil was even able to get more boys incorporated in their other programmes after they got to know and love ETIV-do-Brasil through the SwimTayka programme. This is one of the main reasons the programme was unique – it finally attracted a lot more boys!
The SwimTayka programme allowed ETIV-do-Brasil to double the number of participants. This was partly due to being able to offer transportation and pick up the children from two outlying impoverished neighbourhoods in Itacare. One of these neighbourhoods is called “Bairro Novo”, and it is considered the “favela of Itacare.” The other area is where the local garbage dump resides.
It was incredible to be able to get children and a few family members out of the garbage dump (where they live and work) and bring them to the NGO to participate in the SwimTayka programme. We can not even begin to describe the sparkles in their eyes, their big smiles and utter delight when they were able to get into the pool for their swimming lessons.
Two of the young girls even had several flies that kept swarming around while they were in the pool because of the smell of the garbage that was still on them. Following this, we immediately set up a shower by the pool with soap and shampoo so they could take showers both before and after entering the pool.
It felt unbelievable to work with these children and watch them play, laugh and smile while learning how to swim with us. For Jaci (founder), it was one of the most memorable moments of the year.
ETIV do Brasil is located in the beautiful fishing and surfing town of Itacare, Bahia, Brazil. The SwimTayka position is perfect for someone seeking a meaningful volunteer or internship experience in a stunning location with a thriving Afro-Brazilian culture. Itacare is a unique place where the Rainforest meets the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful beaches, jungles, rivers, waterfalls and wildlife abound.