I am very happy and proud to introduce you to six SWIM Cambodia trainers, who I believe will be very important in influencing Water Safety in Cambodia. Each of the six are passionate to pass on lifesaving skills as they have seen drowning as an outstanding issue to children in Cambodia. In 2016, we saw our first team of SWIM trainers trained and mobilised to teach Water Safety and CPR. Six Cambodian staff from iCAN British International School in Cambodia came forward, who included swimming instructors and learning support assistants from the school. I went to Cambodia to deliver teacher training in Water Safety and CPR skills to pass on to communities. iCAN School is very active in swimming sports, organising school swimming competitions and the annual Mekong River Swim. Over four days, all of the six became competent and confident to teach Water Safety and CPR with rescue breaths to children and adults. The team is co-ordinated by Liz Walker, a swim teacher and coach at the school.
Sovanna is one of our new SWIM trainers who is a learning support assistant at iCAN School. Sovanna says: “When I was young, two little girls lived next door to me. I saw the two drown in my village in the water outside their house, it was shallow water. I saw old people carry them upside down and smack their back. They both died. I want to help the people understand how to stay safe with water and show how to do good CPR.”
The new SWIM trainers taught 270 people (177 children and 93 adults) in Water Safety and CPR skills over 3 days.
SWIM Cambodia worked with Khmer advisors in the planning and preparation of the training and resources. SWIM Cambodia sits on the Aquatic Survival Programme steering group with drowning prevention experts such as RNLI and Nile Swimmers. SWIM has worked to make Aquatic Survival teaching resources appropriate to the Cambodian context to raise awareness of drowning risk specific to Cambodia.
SWIM Cambodia measure outcomes by gathering demographic information and asking children water safety questions (a baseline survey) before they have been taught. The same children will be followed-up to ask the same questions to see if their water safety knowledge has improved and retained. Some of these results will be available during 2017. This will enable us to evaluate and adapt the training provided.
SWIM Cambodia would like to thank iCAN British International School and Youth Star for co-ordinating communities in Phnom Penh and Prey Veng. We have received generous donations from Speedo International, iCAN School and from kind supporters.
Ramo is one of our new SWIM trainers. He is a security guard at iCAN School and teaches swimming to children part-time. Ramo writes: “I am lucky to be born a human, I love my country so much. It is a need for every human to live a healthy life. To live we need food to eat, air to breath, water to drink and water for many different purposes. Many people do not know the water is a risk for them. In Cambodia, a lot of people die from drowning in each year and most who drown are small children because they are adventurous and used to everyday life. My hope and want is to see all the children and adults in Cambodia get knowledge about water safety and safe rescue for in around the water. I am so happy to being a SWIM trainer. I hope that the knowledge me and my teammates have can be shared to the people who are risk from the water.”
2017 and beyond.
In February the SWIM trainers will be delivering training to a new cohort of Youth Star volunteers who will go on teach children and adults in two provinces. We have also been asked by another organisation (to be revealed) to work with them to provide drowning prevention interventions with communities who live and work around the beach areas of Kampong Sowm.
In 2017 we would like to raise enough to sustain a small full-time team of trainers to extend our work to more children and their communities. This year we aim to identify a suitable location where this team can teach survival swimming (as well as Water Safety and CPR) to children and communities that are vulnerable to drowning. Please support us towards this goal where we will be able to provide more layers of protection to children to keep them water safe. If you have fundraising ideas or events in mind please get in touch.
Happy New Year from all the trustees!
Safety When It Matters (SWIM Cambodia)