Thursday, May 8, 2014

A serious day at the beach - CEF's Water Safety Day by Graeme

Hard to imagine a serious day at the beach, and of course CEF’s Water Safety day at the beach is great fun. But there is a serious side to it.

Every time I fly into Da Nang the closest airport to CEF’s home office in Hoi An in central Vietnam I am struck as I look out of the window by how much water I can see. Broad rivers winding down to the South China Sea, their sources to the west in the mountains which divide Viet Nam and Laos and fed by the torrential tropical rains. Lagoons stretch into the hazy distance and then on the other side of a sand bar or beach the sea. There’s no shortage of water and it’s a source of food and work for millions. It’s also a potential danger.

Nearly all of the children in CEF’s programs live near water on farms and in fishing communities. And very few know how to swim. So a few years ago Linda and her staff had the idea to hold a day at the beach to teach the children about what to do should they get into trouble in water. That’s the serous part. 

On top of expert tuition from the guys at Swim Viet Nam there’s plenty of fun: games on the beach and in the water, a picnic spread out in the shade of the palm trees, a movie as the sun sinks and just hanging out with new-found friends from other villages around.

It’s quite a logistical feat to get 80 plus children from far-flung communities up to three hours from the sea to the beach and Linda and her team have been organising the day for some months. On top of that they have to raise the money for the day. It costs on average $20 for each child. Pretty cheap when you think it will surely save lives as happened to one young man in 2012. You can read about how Phuoc saved himself on our fundraising site and help CEF make sure that our children stay safe around water. We don’t want them to become one of the 10 children who drown every day in Viet Nam.

Photos from one of our early Water Safety Days - By Etienne Bossot

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