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We would like to thank Hillside Aluminium/South32 for their sponsorship of 40 Pink Rescue Buoys and extending our water-safety education capacity in the Richards Bay area during the last two years.

The NSRI’s drowning-prevention initiatives would not be possible without the generous support of donors and sponsors, and the commitment of our educators and the communities that welcome them.

Towards the end of 2019, the NSRI approached Hillside Aluminium/South32 with a proposal for the deployment of Pink Rescue Buoys as well as two water-safety instructors in the Richards Bay area. We were delighted when the proposal was approved, and kickstarted with the generous sponsorship of 40 Pink Rescue Buoys that were erected at drowning hotspot areas around the country in early 2020.

It was also all systems go for two new water safety instructors too, one of whom would work from the Science Centre in Richards Bay, while the other would visit schools in the greater Richards Bay area to deliver water-safety workshops. But, as we all know, 2020 had other plans.

“We hit a major snag in the shape of Covid-19,” says Stuart Moerdyk, NSRI’s Corporate Relationship and Retail Manager. The Science Centre closed as did schools around the country as the various levels of lockdown unfolded. “We had to box smart during this time,” Stuart continues. It was a time of adaption for everyone, and the thinking was that water-safety education should continue albeit in a different format. “We repurposed the two instructors who both upskilled themselves through online learning and we proactively sought out opportunities for them to take part in radio and TV interviews to continue getting the water-safety message out.” In time, the instructors were again able to visit schools and communities in the Richards Bay area to share drowning prevention talks and activities.

“We are infinitely grateful to South32 for understanding the challenges that we faced and for their continued support in 2021,” Stuart acknowledges. “Now, almost midway through year three of our partnership, we are starting to see the fruit of our efforts in the area with the schools programme almost back to pre-Covid-19 norms, and our two instructors busier than ever facilitating lessons and activations in the communities, as well as educating people about the use and care of the Pink Rescue Buoys.”

NSRI’s CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson says: “The Kwazulu Natal North Coast has some of the most pristine and yet remote beaches, miles and miles of white sand and warm blue ocean, that lure thousands of beachgoers every year. To keep them safe the NSRI has partnered with South32 through our Pink Rescue Buoy and water-safety education programmes, and we hope that both programmes will provide the safe environment they need. Partnerships like these are essential to our ability to provide services and we are extremely privileged to have South32 beside us.”

Thank you, South32, for showing patience while we had to redirect energy and effort during the lockdown and for having faith in us to ultimately deliver on what we promised. Water-safety instructors Ndumiso Skhosana and Mncedisi Hlalatu are continuing with their life-saving lessons in Richards Bay through your support.

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