Jigalong children enjoy summer Swim and Survive classes

24 December 2019

Aboriginal children sitting along the edge of a pool watching their instructor demonstrate freestyle in the waterRoyal Life Saving WA recently sent a swim instructor to the remote aboriginal community of Jigalong to conduct two weeks of swimming and water safety lessons for children there. Jigalong is a community of just over 300 people, located 165 kilometres east of Newman in the Pilbara region.

Children in regional communities often miss out on the benefit of school swimming lessons that most metropolitan children enjoy, quite often due to a lack of swim instructors to run these programs in regional areas. Royal Life Saving WA and the Department of Education have been concerned about this issue for some time - which was also raised as a key discussion point at the inaugural Pilbara Water Safety Forum earlier this year - and decided to proactively work together to find a solution.A group of aboriginal children int he water with their swim instructor, floating on their back while wearing lifejackets

The recent National Drowning report highlighted the fact that people in regional and remote WA are 2.3 times more likely to drown than those in the metro area. The provision of swimming and water safety programming in these areas is therefore crucial as we work to turn these figures around.

We’ve recently sent several instructors into communities across the Pilbara, to ensure these children learn the vital skills. 38 children participated in the recent lessons at Jigalong, which were conducted by Royal Life Saving WA Instructor Deb Gill.

The children loved the opportunity to improve their swimming over the 10 lessons, and there was a marked improvement in their water confidence during this time, so much so that they were able to then take part in a swimming and lifesaving carnival to showcase their skills! You can read more about the carnival at the link below.

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