Sharing Our Water Safety and Survival Swimming Experience

On 29 June, we were invited by Dr Vu Kim Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Child Care and Protection. Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to share our experience of swimming and water safety work at a workshop organised in Da Nang (central Vietnam). MOLISA is tasked by the Vietnamese Prime Minister with leading efforts to reduce child drowning. Officials from national and provincial government attended plus the World Health Organisation and other water safety NGOs.

Our friends at Swim for Life / Golden West Foundation also invited us in July to their drowning prevention workshop in Quang Binh province where we presented our low resource, open water model for drowning prevention to Quang Binh officials.   We also agreed to set up a “Collaborative” forum to help us work more in partnership with other INGOs given our shared objective to help reduce child drowning in Vietnam.   The INGOs taking part are the AWSOM Project, Swim for Life Vietnam, Swim Vietnam, Water Safety Vietnam, We Bloom , World Vision Vietnam and Hue Help (Swimming for Safety).

Swimming for Safety in Hanoi

Our pilot project in Vietnam’s capital city began in July with 11 PE teachers from kindergarten, primary or secondary schools in Long Bien District completing an intensive 6 days IFSTA course. They are now teaching water safety and swimming to 50 children from local schools. The teachers and children were chosen by the Long Bien Department of Education (DOET) according to our criteria which included children at risk e.g. because they live near the Red River, or from disadvantaged backgrounds.The children – boys and girls aged 9 -11 have been having a great time since starting their course on 1 August. They will have 18 lessons of 45 minutes and by the end of the course we hope that the majority will be able to swim 25m, tread water, scull and know other survival swimming skills, and understand how to help someone in trouble in the water without risking their own safety.

We’d like to thank the Hanoi International Women’s Club for agreeing to fund our pilot. Our sincere thanks also to British International School (BIS) Hanoi for the use of their super pool and classroom facilities. Also to Vietnamese colleages at PACCOM and Hanoi DOET and Hanoi Department of Foreign Affairs who gave us their help and support. It was a journey but we got there in the end!

Hats off also to our talented teacher trainer, Mr Phuoc Tuong. A full time secondary teacher from Hue, he was one of the first people we trained back in 2011.  He was a “stand-out” trainee and became a teacher trainer. We were delighted he could instruct the Hanoi teachers course. Finally, thanks also to our talented programme officers My and Anh.

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Why does Hue Help needs your support?

Hue Help works in central Vietnam to improve the health, education and future prospects of disadvantaged children. Working through local partners we provide mobile health care, support a home for children, run swimming training for children in flood zones and operate an international volunteer programme. We believe that local people should be at the heart of our programmes, promoting sustainability and ensuring that the people we work with are able to maintain their customs, culture and traditions.

The current situation in Vietnam

In recent years, Vietnam has made great progress with their economic growth reaching 5.32% in 2009. However as a developing country Vietnam still needs help from the international community.

– Vietnam is one of the countries in the world which has been most affected by climate change. This causes extensive and disastrous flooding every year with the poor and the vulnerable most seriously affected.

– The Vietnamese government is working to achieve the eight goals of the Millennium program to improve social and economic conditions by 2015. However the world economic crisis has hindered such development. Due to this non-governmental organizations play a key role in ensuring that progress continues to be made.

As a small organization Hue Help is ideally placed to support the development of local projects, working towards the Millennium goals and specializing in swimming and water safety to help relieve the problems of flooding.