Open water swimming combines life skills with environmental education

SwimTayka, a private non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom and the United States, launches its initiative for disadvantaged children living in the world’s lakes, rivers and oceans around the world. Through Swim Tayka, they will learn to swim and gain a valuable environmental education.  SwimTayka aims to help grow the next generation of world citizens, clean water stewards and strong, confident swimmers.

1.2 million people around the world die by drowning every year, more than two per minute. Of them, more than 50 percent are children.
There are perhaps eight to ten times more who experience a drowning scenario but who manage to reach safety alone or are rescued by their peers, by lifeguards or by others. 

Enticing on hot days and in the summer months, lakes, rivers and oceans offer opportunities for endless fun and activities.  However swimming and playing in open water also involves risk.  Hazards include poor water quality, inclement weather, submerged hazards, boats, strong currents, dangerous marine life, and hypothermia. Learning the skills to manage these risks and reach safety or to help others is critical to open water survival.

SwimTayka was launched by marathon swimmer/Ironman  Bryan Avery and triathlete/environmental mediator Dena Marshall.  SwimTayka partners with local organisations in poor, waterside communities to provide free lessons and environmental education.  Instructors are international volunteers with a passion for open water swimming, lifesaving certifications, teaching credentials, and foreign language skills.  Volunteers in environmental education, interpreters, development and marketing skills, along with sponsors are also key to their success.

SwimTayka’s inaugural project will be mid-January to early-March 2017 in Huanchaco, Peru, in collaboration with Otra Cosa Network (www.otracosa.org), a long-standing community-based NGO there.

“Water is life.  Life is learning. Our vision is that all children, regardless of economic or social status, should have the skills of confident swimmers and have a deep respect and care for our earth’s lakes, rivers and oceans.” Says co-founder Bryan Avery.

“The word tayka means mother in Aymara, a widely spoken, ancient language in the Andean region.  A mother teaches her children critical life skills and she also teaches them our connection to the earth and how to care for it.”  Says co-founder Dena Marshall.

To get involved as a volunteer, sponsor, or partner organisation, or to make a donation, please visit the SwimTayka website at www.swimtayka.org or email us directly at info@swimtayka.org.