While Australians can’t access swimming pools at the moment due to Covid-19, there’s no doubt Water Skills for Life will look to continue its amazing work as soon as possible.
As a not-for-profit organisation which has been running since 2012, the program supports volunteer swim programs in Australia and overseas (Vietnam) to “provide a skill for life, to save a life”.
Created by Tanya Carmont – the program’s founder and president – this wonderful initiative, located in New South Wales, is one of Swimming Australia’s Community Swimming Grants recipients.
With a long and storied history of volunteering as a swim instructor in Vietnam, Carmont is very proud of the work Water Skills for Life is able to achieve, especially Dee Why’s Tibetan Community Swim Program.
“The reason I started this program is because they don’t learn to swim in Tibet,” she said.
“They come to Dee Why and they go to the beach and to the rockpool and enjoy the aquatic environment, but they don’t know how to swim or survive.
“For me it’s extremely important we’re able to help them. They can’t afford swim lessons, that’s the last thing on their agenda, so we are very thankful for the grant Swimming Australia and the government has provided.
“These funds will go towards assisting Tibetans and others from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to have access to swimming and water safety lessons and train those interested in becoming swim teachers.”
A former student of Water Skills for Life, Tenzin Khentse Kyishi – who is now a swim teacher and studying at university – was inspired to become a teacher thanks to the program.
“When I was a kid I first learnt to swim from here and now I want to train to become a teacher so I can help other Tibetans learn how to swim as well.”
With the majority of participants coming from refugee backgrounds, the lesson plans are simple so the volunteer teachers, of which there are 15-20, can make sure the class is effective and of course, enjoyable.
“There is obviously a big focus on water safety skills like floating front and back and recovering to stand position, survival backstroke, treading water and swimming underwater,” Carmont added.
Under the Move It AUS- Participation Grants Program, Swimming Australia has committed to provide diverse community groups with funding to aid their aquatic programs. The program has invested a total of almost $600,000 into 27 community grants and 11 strategic partnerships that has reached more than 7,000 participants in 84 different locations throughout Australia.