In Vietnam drowning is the leading cause of death in children. Over 2,000 children a year drown in Vietnam – more than any other country in South East Asia.
The drowning rate in Thanh Hoa, home of Vietnam Jungle Marathon, is higher than many provinces in Vietnam. The latest statistics available from the Ministry of Health indicate that 27 children drowned in the province in 2020. Just last month three children drowned while swimming at a beach of Quang Xương District, Thanh Hoa.
“Most child drowning cases do not make the news – statistically, around 6 children drown every day in Vietnam,” says Graham Buckley of Hue Help. He adds: “Stories such as these highlight the urgent need for children to learn swimming and water safety skills.”
Combating the issue in the land of VJM
Last year, Topas VJM charity partner, Hue Help, organized swimming courses for teachers in 10 primary schools and two secondary schools in Ba Thuoc and Quan Hoa Districts. These teachers then went on to teach around 200 children to swim.
The programme consisted of 18 lessons covering survival swimming skills including floating, treading water, entries and exits, swimming strokes, and water safety knowledge.
Hue Help also ran 2 teacher training courses for the total of 80 teachers from 80 primary and secondary schools in Ba Thuoc and Quan Hoa district about Water Safety Education. After the training, these teachers went on to run the lesson at their schools and 14,319 children took part in Water Safety Education programme.
The education training has provided basic knowledge for students about water safety, helping them to protect themselves and know how to save others in order to prevent drowning.
In 2021, the program will continue with the fund coming directly from Vietnam Jungle Marathon runners as part of the Topas Vietnam Trail Series commitment to community and charity work.
It is projected to be organized at the end of 2021 when the covid situation is getting better. 200 children from Ba Thuoc’s primary schools are projected to take part in the course. Ba Thuoc is the district that the majority of VJM trails run through.
The program will be taught by the teachers who joined the training courses last year organized by Hue Help.
Hue Help has been running its Swimming for Safety program in Vietnam since 2011, so far training over 400 teachers and 11,000 children. The World Health Organisations recommends teaching school aged children to swim and learn water safety as part of a strategy to reduce child drowning.
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