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The Survival Swimming programme at Leliebloem House has given two young girls the chance to change lives - both their own and those of more kids.

Leliebloem House is a non-profit organisation that serves as a home-away-from-home for 60 children. The kids, who are aged from 4-18 years old, have been removed from troubled families by child protection agencies and are placed at Leliebloem for specialist care and intervention programmes.

“I previously worked at Leliebloem House as their fundraiser so have built a relationship with them and still keep in touch with the progress of the kids,” says Liza Mostert, National Government and SOE Relationship Manager for the NSRI. “When the director of the children’s home contacted me to ask advice on water safety, as a donor had fixed their swimming pool, I knew we could assist and we got them in contact with Andrew Ingram, our Drowning Prevention Manager. He thought this would be a great opportunity to partner with Leliebloem and offer free Survival Swimming lessons given our mandate of assisting kids in challenged communities. It was the perfect synergy.”

In addition to teaching the children Survival Swimming skills, two of the kids were trained to be Survival Swimming instructors.

“It was so rewarding to hear that two of the children are now instructors,” Liza enthuses. “I know that this achievement will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives. It gave them purpose and with their uncertain futures, this might even become a career where they can help others. I know the NSRI team that actually worked with Leliebloem now looks at their jobs differently.”

According to Liza, the NSRI plans to continue its work with Leliebloem as there will always be new intakes of kids who need to be taught about water safety. If a child shows potential, they will be given the opportunity to train as an instructor.

Hilda Davids, one of the social workers at Leliebloem sent a lovely thank you letter to the NSRI team. Read the touching letter below:

“We would like to thank you and [Kim Abrahams, from the NSRI’s Drowning Prevention team] for choosing our organisation as beneficiaries for the survival swimming program, and also for training two of our children as instructors. To us, this programme is more than just teaching children the basic skills to stay afloat should they find themselves in difficulty in the water.

"About 70% of our children completed the programme and the changes are visible. You must remember that we have 60 residents that were exposed to events in their lives that create trauma and contribute to them having anxiety and phobias.

"This contributes to most of them being scared of the water - I mean really scared and not wanting to participate in the programme. It is human nature to avoid emotions that scare us. The good news is that once you face your fears, they lose the ability to rule us. Through this programme, and with the help of Kim, those that were very scared participated and could face their fears and overcome their anxiety and phobias.

"Their self-esteem has improved, their confidence has been boosted, and they all felt good about themselves. They also learned to be assertive, build positive relationships and focus on goals. We could also see the good relationship Kim had with the children and how they trust her. She went the extra mile for them. One of our children was an orphan and was displaying challenging behaviour. Kim built a good relationship with her and this contributed to positive changes in her.

"The two girls that were granted the opportunity to become instructors are 18 years old, and supposed to be reunified with families in the community. One of the girls does not know her external family and the other one’s family does not want to care for her.

"They were uncertain about the future and it affected all aspects of their lives, making them fearful of the future. This opportunity really is going to open doors for them - they are so excited!”

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