A Positive Message from Vietnam – Wild Swimming
Updated: Sep 30
Stivi Cooke reports in Tuoitre News: “…that between one and 10 children, per day, drown in Vietnam… with a 3,260 kilometer-long coastline …hundreds of beaches and 41,900 kilometers of waterways, rivers, [and] streams [learning to swim should be] squarely in the nation’s curriculum…. in Vietnam [swimming is] for children… a daily activity exposing them to the hazard [of drowning] with little knowledge of how to deal with problems in the water.
Children …cross, wade or walk or take river boats at rivers and creeks to go to school. Many children help their parents with fishery or farming activities next to water reservoirs, tanks and ponds. Heavy seasonal rain in the mountains, flash flooding and occasional urban flooding add to all these risks. Adding to the dangers is the extensive lack of safe, strong bridge crossings for the general rural population.
Water safety is mostly taught as a textbook activity but should be a compulsory rural school subject as well. With few educational resources available or money for swimming pools or paid instructors – the problem remains difficult to resolve or improve without outside assistance.
This brings me to the great work being done by Swim Vietnam, a non-governmental organization founded by Joanne Stewart in 2008. Since its inception, over 9,500 children have been taught to swim, over 150 adults trained as swimming teachers and Swim Vietnam is operating seven swim schools, according to its website. Over 20,000 primary school children have attended Swim Vietnam’s classroom-based water safety education presentations.
Swim Vietnam is a shining example of what can be done instead of throwing our hands in the air and imagining the problems are too big to overcome. They also run courses for pool lifeguards, First Aid and CPR…”
Stivi Cooke says: “I’d love to see schools develop coloring-in competitions on water safety or perform a school play based on this theme. How about “Know the water before you swim” T-shirts? It would be fantastic to have swimming safety slogans on kids’ helmets!
And above all – have a safe and happy summer swimming and having fun!”
Do your children understand how to stay safe when swimming?
Should your child know about life saving in open water?
Are children in England receiving lifesaving swimming instruction?