When the OAK group kindly agreed to sponsor the Beau Sejour Barracudas and support the Beau Sejour Swim School, the team was left with a dilemma as to how they could best re-use their old kit, both swimmers and staff uniforms.
Drowning is the leading cause of child death in Vietnam, claiming around 9 child lives every single day - the highest in South East Asia. These drowning deaths account for more loss of life than TB, Dengue, Malaria and HIV/AIDS. combined. If drowning was a communicable disease, it would be considered a public health epidemic.
Hue Help has been operating a Swimming for Safety programme since 2011. They work with local authorities to train school teachers as swimming teachers who then go on to teach the children in their schools to swim.
To date, they have trained over 400 swimming teachers who have reached over 11,000 children across 5 provinces in Vietnam. They also provide classroom based water safety education lessons, as well as work with national authorities to provide training and advise on water safety initiatives. Teaching survival swimming to school aged children is in line with WHO recommendations on reducing child drowning, with research showing that it can reduce child drowning by over 95%. Although they have trained a lot of teachers and children, there are nearly 100 million people in Vietnam. There is a lot that still needs to be done to address this tragic, but highly preventable, loss of life.
A team of volunteers collected all of the kit and it was shipped off to Vietnam – after some difficulties with customs regulations, a huge amount of swim wear, tracksuits and T shirts arrived in Vietnam.
One of the charity team leaders has been visiting many of the sites in the rural area project and they have been planning how to give kit to some of the good schools in the very poor areas.