Since its inception in 2006, well over 200,000 children have graduated from the SwimSafe program in Bangladesh.
Throughout 2012, another 80,000 children will learn the lifesaving skills of survival swimming. In Bangladesh children often learn to swim in unsafe open water bodies without qualified swimming instructors or lifeguards. Drowning has been found to be a significant problem in Bangladesh.
The ground breaking Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey (BHIS) revealed that drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 17 years, with approximately 18,000 children drowning each year, or 50 per day.
In rural areas, children learn to swim in ponds which have been modified by installing a bamboo structure as a safe venue for teaching swimming.
The structure has a ramp entry into the water and a shallow water platform for children to practice skills before advancing to deeper water.
In urban areas, children learn swimming in portable pools. Two such pools have been installed in two different locations in Dhaka. Teaching is conducted by Community Swimming Instructors (CSIs) who have been chosen from the community based on their swimming skills and their willingness to volunteer as instructors.
If you would like to support the SwimSafe program in teaching survival swimming skills to children in Bangladesh you can donate directly to the program via the Global Drowning Fund.