On March 1st our brazil project (ETIV-do-Brazil) moved into their new property that they are calling the “ETIV Complex” or “Sede ETIV” in Portuguese! This offers the volunteers and staff so much more space including individual and shared apartments for their volunteers. It also includes a beautiful swimming pool that volunteers can use, but that will also serve the community during our SwimTayka programming that includes swimming lessons and drowning prevention for local youth. Meanwhile, our backyard opens up to the Mangrove forest that they are working hard to protect, replant and restore. In addition, they have already begun rebuilding our classroom from the materials we brought over from the old property.
Our children from SwimTayka Peru visited the Peruvian Sea Institute (IMARPE) in Huanchaco and we talk with a Marine Biologist. The children learned about the types of animals that live in the ocean from the shore to the depths, they were also able to observe dissected animals such as sharks, penguins, swordfish, gulls and a baby dolphin.
How in the world, in a country composed of over 700 islands, can fewer than 20 per cent of the children know how to swim? It’s not as though I’m talking about inhospitable, cold waters but rather the warm, amazingly clear and blue waters of the Bahamas.
Drowning deaths in the Bahamas are the second leading cause of accidental death, with only traffic accidents causing more. The rate of drowning per 100,000 inhabitants is six times greater than in the United States, and an astounding 17 times higher than in the United Kingdom.
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.
The SwimTayka Project is done for this year in Itacaré, Brazil. ETIV-do-Brasil organised a final massive celebration in Ribeira Beach, where more than 80 children had the opportunity to practice the skills they gained during the course. They got to swim in open water with the supervision of our fantastic SwimTayka teachers and volunteers. Everyone had a great time and we are so thankful to SwimTayka for helping them bring this incredible opportunity to the children of Itacaré!
Swimming & Adaptive Life-saving Techniques (SALT)
A learn to swim program for all Bahamians!
The children of The Bahamas should be able to enjoy the stunning marine environment that surrounds them with increased safety and confidence. As there is a high percentage of young children either afraid of the ocean and anything living in the ocean as well as the high percentage of non-swimmers Waterkeepers® Bahamas has introduced the SALT Programme to Bimini and Grand Bahama.
This week we rounded off the SwimTayka programme with a trip to Praia Ribeira! The programme has been both an awful lot of fun, as well as a giant learning curve, for bot children and teachers. There were some 80 kids that signed up, and this number only grew and grew throughout the 2 months, and all participants are now strong and capable swimmers.
I grew up by the water and learned to swim as a young child. As soon as I was old enough to become certified, I became a Lifeguard and Swimming Instructor so that I could pass on my love of the water to as many people as possible. I have always believed that everyone should know how to swim and that death by drowning is preventable! I began a career in aquatics and remain active in it today.