Wangara womens holiday program a great success

19 July 2017

Recent data indicates that migrant and multicultural people are largely over-represented in drowning data, with 50 drowning deaths in WA over the past 5 years involving those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Drowning is a risk especially for migrant women, for whom there is not only a lack of understanding about the importance of swimming and water safety education, but the added barrier of cultural modesty requirements which make many regular swimming venues unsuitable for them.

Royal Life Saving Society WA is working across the community to lead change in this area, and provide more culturally appropriate swimming venues and programs for these women. One such program happened last week, at the Swim School WA in Wangara, which is one of our Endorsed Swim Schools.

The program was conducted in partnership with the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (MMRC), which had received a large number of requests from multicultural women who wished to learn to swim. The MMRC then approached Royal Life Saving Society WA to run a new Swim and Survive holiday program.

The program invited mothers and daughters to together attend closed-doors 1 hour swimming lessons with 2 female instructors each day for 5 days over the school holidays. The lessons provided the privacy and cultural modesty required to make swimming education accessible for the participants.

12 women and girls took part in the program, with some beginners who had never swum before! The participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were very excited to take part in the program, leaving at the end of the week with certificates, Swim and Survive swim caps and some invaluable skills that they’re looking forward to building on by taking part in women’s only swimming lessons in the future.

Royal Life Saving Society WA, in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Interests and the Department of Sport and Recreation, has been conducting women’s only swimming lessons since 2009. We now have 3 programs running across the metropolitan area at Merriwa, Balga and Cannington, and this short-term program in Wangara is a welcome addition!

Royal Life Saving hopes to again run a similar program at The Swim School WA Wangara and other aquatic centres in future, as we look to continue providing opportunities for migrant women to learn vital swimming and water safety skills which will in turn reduce the incidence of drowning in our multicultural community.

You can find out more about our Women's Only Swimming Program at the link below.

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