Multicultural children in Cannington learn to Swim and Survive

6 October 2017

Many people move to Western Australia each year from right around the world, drawn by our state’s beautiful climate and lifestyle. Unfortunately for many of these new arrivals swimming and water safety education has not been a part of their life before they arrive. This leads to the over-representation of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds in our drowning statistics.

a swim instructor with a child wearing a lifejacket in the waterFigures show that in the last 5 years, there have been 50 drowning deaths in WA involving members of the CaLD community; this represents 37% of all drowning deaths. Royal Life Saving Society WA has been working with a variety of community groups to address these statistics.

During the last two school terms we partnered with Communicare, to run an after school swimming program for children from CaLD communities at Cannington Leisureplex, a Royal Life Saving endorsed swim school. Around 40 children participated in the program, coming from a range of backgrounds including Afghanistani, Indigenous, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Syrian, Somali, Kora, Indonesian, Saudi Arabian, Indian, Syrian and Egyptian.

Communicare assists communities who face barriers in participating in sport and recreation, particularly those from a multicultural background, and has been working with Royal Life Saving for a number of years. We value Communicare’s assistance in organizing participants and logistics for the recent program, which was extremely well attended and appreciated by the families involved.

Surveys were completed with parents throughout the program and the responses were very positive, with one mother saying “It teaches my child life skills and how to be safe around water. I don’t know how to swim so if something were to happen, I know he will be OK.”

Royal Life Saving Society WA is keen to conduct similar programs at aquatic facilities across WA, and would love to hear from interested community groups who we may be able to assist. For more information please contact our Swim and Survive team or click the link below to learn more about what we have to offer for multicultural communities.

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