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The benefits of learning how to swim are endless and the benefits extend beyond the pool environment. This important lifesaving skill creates a sense of self-security, especially for children.

Situated on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal Duduzile Secondary School recently received a Survival Swimming Centre (SSC) from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). This is according to Andrew Ingram, NSRI’s Drowning Prevention Manager who is excited that the NSRI Survival Swimming Instructors started teaching the first children, and teachers, the basic principles of surviving a sudden immersion in water. “These lessons are how to control your breathing, how to orientate yourself in the water, how to float, and how to move at least 5 meters in the water,” states Ingram.

Principal, Smangele Msomi-Madlala is thrilled that the third NSRI Survival Swimming Centre has been placed at her school to serve the community. The school serves Oshabeni, a poor community about thirty minutes inland of Port Shepstone.

“Some of our learners use bridges that have rivers that tend to overflow when it rains and having these skills of knowing how to get to safety when in difficulty in water, is truly incredible,” she adds.

Ingram adds that it was fantastic teamwork that allowed us to build this Survival Swimming Centre in record time and deliver to a school in a low resource setting, which under very difficult conditions educates 948 learners.” Were it not for the support that we got from local businessmen, getting it off the delivery truck would have been impossible, much less filling it with water and all the other challenges that come with a project of this nature,” continues Ingram.

“All the hard work was quickly forgotten when the first children got into the water, which was a toasty 30 degrees, and started their first lesson. We were also thrilled that two teachers were among the first in the pool, leading the way to bring swimming as a life skill to the Oshabeni community, said Andrew.”

Msomi – Madlala states that most learners and educators have never been exposed to swimming lessons or water safety. “This not only benefits the school but the community as a whole and our kids when they’re on holiday by the ocean, they will be able to apply these skills,” she adds. This resonates with the NSRI’s purpose, which is saving lives, changing lives, and creating futures.

“We hope to create a swimming culture amongst the children and teachers who have started this journey. The skills the teachers will gain will allow them to teach upcoming students how to survive in water,” concludes Ingram.

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Contact: Kuhle Mkize

Email: | Cell: 066 099 5777

NOTE TO EDITORS: The first NSRI Survival Swimming centre was placed in Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape and the second in Tombo near Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape.

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