Splish splash! That is the sound of water at the Joan Harrison Swimming Pools for the past week for a group of 30 youngsters from Duncan Village.
The group is part of the Duncan Village Isibindi Child and Youth Care and Safe Park project which is a programme between the Metro and its sister city the City of Leiden.
The swimming programme kicked off on Monday 25 January and will end on Sunday
The programme comprises of nine swimming lessons where the kids were introduced to being in the water, getting in and out of the water, floating, being underwater and the basic swimming strokes. They were also assessed on discipline, participation, curiosity, concentrations, respect and working with others swimmers.
According to a Municipal Report the Water Safety Project is being funded by the Leiden Stitchting Stedenband who contributed towards the establishment of the Duncan Village Isibindi and Safe Park programme. “The current Water Safety project includes activities ranging from basic water safety skills and basic swimming lessons which are provided by the Dutch foreign national sports coach.”
Speaking at the certificate hand over Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi praised Maarten Weeda, who is the swimming coach, and said “I must command the coach for his interest and passion but importantly for bringing skills to better our young people.”
Mtsi said that a programme like this would one day help the City produce a world its own champion.
Even though the programme is not one of the formal twinning programmes with the City of Leiden, Mtsi said the results of programme have the ingredients to look at a long term project.
“I must admit the results of the two weeks programme definitely have the ingredients for a long term sustainable program perhaps not only for the Isibindi Child and Youth Centre but for all children in the Metro,” said Mtsi.
He mentioned that due to historic reasons in our society the poor never had an opportunity to have access to public swimming pools.
“It is known that many people young and old from previously disadvantage backgrounds cannot swim and in this day and age to avoid loss of life it is important that people learn more about water safety and the best thing to do that is to learn how to swim.” add Mtsi.
Speaking about the benefits of the programme Koliswa Notwala Duncan Village Coordinator for Isibindi Child and Youth Care project said, “This has been a great opportunity for our children and we are hoping that in the near future our funders wont only look for swimming but help our kids to be involved in other sporting codes – soccer, rugby or music.”
She added that the children will benefit a lot from the swimming project is it is rare to find children from disadvantaged backgrounds with proper swimming skills.
Speaking to one of the beneficiaries 12 year old Zusakhe Soqhaga said, “The swimming lessons will help me when I go to the beach with my family during the holidays.”
Adding to that Liyema Cekisa who is also part of the project said that the swimming lessons will help when she is playing in the water. “I will know what to do to be safe.”
Sharing his views about the programme Dutch Coach Maarten Weeda said, “It has been a great experience to be working with the kids, others are learning fast and with others I have to be patient as they are sometimes afraid of the water.”
12:38 03 Mar 2016
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