ENVIRONMENT

Our partner “Save the Bays” in the Bahamas

Along with Save the Bay, SwimTayka are providing a valuable working partnership to educate the children of the Bahamas in swimming and environmental, he is what Rashema Ingraham, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Bahamas has to say:

“An archipelagic island nation, having 17 islands along its chain populated, one would think that this reality would require every inhabitant to know how to swim as much as they know how to walk and talk.

The Bahamas’ last census recorded nearly 95,000 children (newborn to 14 years of age) makes up 27% of the nation’s total population. This percentage of course expected to have increased since 2010 likely means that somewhere between 27-35% of the nation’s population to date are 14 years or younger. This bracket of Bahamians should be given all opportunity or resource to learn the life-saving skill of swimming, in a pool and in open water.

We at Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save The Bays are strong advocates for the 27-35% of the population, as they will be the future leaders and policy makers of the country, who with an appreciation of the nation’s largest natural resource bank will be those who will protect and preserve the wealth of the country because of that appreciation.

To reach that goal will require small steps, strategic alliances and of course stickabililty. We knew that as we prepared to launch the first of many swim camps for the country on the island of Bimini in the summer of 2018. We knew that our objective was to reach, directly and indirectly, the 225 Bahamians 14 years and under who reside in Bimini by giving them the opportunity to be a part of a week-long swim & environmental training camp – and providing a “breathable” yet structured program that will open their minds to trust the instructors as they learn and are engaged in the planned activities.

Bimini, being the smallest populated island, with many limitations than that of the “modern city” proved that the impact that this program had on the nearly 40 children and 4 adult participants is more than achievable, leaving lasting skills but also appreciated by those that participated. People want to swim, they embrace the opportunities to be able to learn to swim. They are vulnerable, of course, but they want to be a part of the fratenity of humans who are can switch between being aquatic and terrestrial, even if only for a few minutes.

Many of the residents center their livelihood around the sea – either as fisherman, tour guides, or beach attendants, so it is amazing that many of them or their immediate family members are non-swimmers. And, as such – are terrified of the ocean. That leaves you only in awe … as you fear and wonder how persons on an island less than 9 square miles are able to walk and talk, but are not able to swim.

This program may not be the complete solution, but it is a devoted part of it and it is needed.”

From Rashema Ingraham
Executive Director of Waterkeepers Bahamas

If you would like to know more you can contact Rashema at ringraham@savethebays.bs

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