Did you know more than six million people visit Bali each year? They have a great holiday, see a few sights and go home refreshed. But how much do they really learn about the Indonesian culture, or how fantastic, and warm and welcoming the people are?
At SwimTayka, we’re offering a very different way to see Bali, where you’ll get totally involved in the local community, and have a rewarding experience by helping children learn to swim.
In Bali, we partner with SwimDo which – like us – is committed to teaching local children swimming skills, how to be safe near water, and how to look after the environment.
Seamus Pettigrew, an avid Californian surfer, set up SwimDo in 2015 after spending several months in Bali and realising how afraid children were of the water, and how at risk they were of drowning.
His aim was to establish an organisation that would become autonomous, run by and employing local people. The first programme taught 50 students, many of whom went on to become swim instructors themselves and who now run the organisation on a local level, as coordinators and managers.
For the local people involved, becoming a swimming teacher is prestigious, and very different to the farming life they might otherwise have followed. They not only work for the programmes, they can also work as private swim teachers to ex-pat families in Bali – a source of income that has been a lifeline to many during the Coronavirus pandemic, when the local schools have been closed.
SwimTayka is able to support these programmes through our volunteers, who spend two or three weeks in Bali, helping educate children in water safety and water stewardship, and teaching them swimming and life-saving skills.
Volunteering in Bali
So what will you be doing, as a volunteer swim instructor in Bali?
The programmes are offered through the school system and how each operates depends on the local facilities. You could find yourself teaching children to swim in a local pool, in a private pool at a villa, in a river, or perhaps even a water park!
And as a SwimTayka volunteer you’ll get to experience so much more than the average tourist. You’ll spend time with the families, go to the temple with them, eat with them, and get fully immersed in their community.
The feedback from our Bali volunteers is that it is like no other trip they have ever gone on. Is this the trip for you?
Seamus only went to Bali for a short visit and ended up staying. He says: “I was sharing a house with 30 people, and only one spoke English. They were poor but so generous to me. I went there to surf and play in the ocean, but although the village they lived in was only five minutes from the beach, not one of my new friends could swim. More than that, they were actually afraid to be in the ocean.
“So I just got them into the water, and to see their faces when they crossed that point from being a non-swimmer to a swimmer was fantastic. People come all over the world to enjoy swimming in the waters of Indonesia. To be able to bring that to the local people is an incredibly rewarding and profound experience, and this is what the SwimTayka volunteers enjoy too.”
Water stewardship is also an important part of the SwimTayka volunteer’s role. You’ll play games with the children, with environmental themes. You’ll take part in beach clean ups. You’ll help educate children about plastic pollution – all against the backdrop of the ocean.
Fortunately, significant progress has been made in Bali in terms of environmental protection. There are now recycling centres and much has been done to clean up waterways – plastic choked streams now have fish living in them once again.
Do you like the idea of an Indonesian experience that will make a difference to children’s lives? If you think this is for you, then you can find out more about our Bali programmes, in 2021 here.