Islamic College students learn to be safe around water

31 July 2018

An islamic boy in the pool wearing a swimming cap and goggles, with arms out to the side smilingAustralian Islamic College Thornlie began their three-week long Swim & Survive Lessons recently at Gosnells Leisure World.

Students, ranging from Pre-Primary through to year 3, will participate in the program. The school hosted a Water Safety Talk prior to their lessons with 282 kids learning to be safe when they are in, on or around the water.

The City of Gosnells has the second highest Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) community of any local government area in WA. On average over the last 5 years, 36% of people who drowned in our state were born overseas and 58% of these were from non-English speaking backgrounds. Of these drowning deaths, 21% were new arrivals to Western Australia who had limited water safety knowledge and swimming skills.

Peter Leaversuch, Royal Life Saving WA CEO says, “Many people from CaLD communities have never had the opportunity to participate in swimming and water safety programs, which most Western Australians take for granted, which places them at a greater risk of drowning.”Four Islamic students in the pool smiling at the camera

Royal Life Saving WA’s Swim and Survive Access and Equity program was developed to ensure that people from CaLD backgrounds have access to swimming and water safety programs. Mr Leaversuch says “Our concern is that too many people from CaLD communities are not participating in these programs, and therefore not gaining the swimming and survival skills to participate safely, and that needs to change. This program aims to break down barriers to participation amongst CaLD communities, such as cost and access to culturally appropriate venues and programs. It has been very successful with over 1,000 people participating in the program each year.”

This year’s program follows on from the success of a pilot program last year, which saw children from Pre-Primary to Year 6 attending swimming lessons at Leisure World Gosnells, while female students from Years 4 to 10 had their lessons at St Brigid’s College, with each child receiving 8 lessons over the 8 weeks. The St Brigid's venue allowed the girls to have the privacy required to meet the cultural regulations in place for young Muslim women.

Royal Life Saving WA is committed to taking a leadership role and working with at-risk communities, to develop their water skills and knowledge and ensure that every Western Australian is given the opportunity to learn to Swim and Survive, regardless of their cultural background or where they were born. Our hope is that by assisting children from the Islamic community to have access to this vital education we can enable them to more easily and safety adjust to Australian life and feel welcomed into our community.

For more information on Royal Life Saving WA’s commitment to promoting multicultural participation in our programs, please click below.

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