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This August, the NSRI celebrates the crucial role of women in imparting lifesaving water safety skills.

As Women's Month draws to a close – it’s essential to recognise and honour the invaluable roles that women play within families and communities. Caregiving – which falls disproportionately to women – entails a multitude of responsibilities, and one critical aspect that deserves attention is water safety.

Drowning remains a leading cause of unintentional injury and death globally. In South Africa, 39% of the (on average) 1477 drowning casualties per year are under the age of 9, which means young children are at a far higher risk of drowning than any other age group. Caregivers, particularly women, are on the frontline of safeguarding against this silent threat.

We asked five women who take the NSRI’s drowning prevention work out into the field – giving lessons and imparting water safety skills, mainly to children and caregivers – to share their message to all the moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and caregivers in South Africa.

Linda

Linda Dalamba: NSRI Drowning Prevention Instructor

Active adult supervision around water is vital to keeping children safe. If we can reach the caregivers, they can protect and pass on our water safety lessons to the children under their care. Empowering them with CPR lessons can save a child's life until emergency services arrive.

My mother loved the water and passed it down to me. On family holidays and outings to the pool, my mom watched us (my siblings and cousins) and played in the water with us, ensuring we were safe. They are memories I hold dear to my heart when I remember her.

My message to women caregivers is to actively watch children near water and familiarise yourselves with the emergency number 112. Check the area for possible dangers and be aware of the signs of drowning.

kim

Kim Abrahams: NSRI Drowning Prevention Instructor

Caregivers play a significant role in drowning prevention, we learn so much from our caregivers. When a caregiver has water safety awareness, she will teach those skills to the children in her care, and water safety will most likely become second nature. Adult supervision is also essential to prevent drownings.

To all caregivers, keep doing what you do! Keep up the good work, and remember: learn basic CPR, supervise your children and know the emergency number, 112.

Simoné Bantam: NSRI Water Safety Instructor

My mother played an important role in my life by providing a safe and secure environment, setting boundaries, teaching us about safety, monitoring our activities, and providing emotional support. Women caregivers can provide guidance on water safety rules, such as wearing life jackets, swimming with a buddy, and avoiding dangerous areas. They can also help children learn how to swim and practice water safety skills.

My message to women is to remember that you are powerful, capable, and deserving of every opportunity. Keep breaking down barriers, pursuing your dreams, and inspiring future generations. Your voice matters, your achievements are remarkable, and your presence enriches every corner of society. Embrace your uniqueness, support one another, and continue to make history. Here's to celebrating you not just this month, but every day.

Nokufika Bukatya: NSRI Drowning Prevention Instructor

Women play a vital role in water safety. Because they are the primary caregivers, they are the ones who make sure their kids know the dangers of swimming unsupervised or swimming in rivers and dams.

To all the women caregivers out there: when you are given the right tools, make the most of them. You are not only doing it for you, but for everyone around you!

Lezhae Snyders

Lezhae Snyders: NSRI Drowning Prevention Technical Officer

Being a mother, one forms a bond with children before they are born; we care about everyone’s kids as we care about our own. We want all children to be safe, always. I wish all moms and caregivers all the best, for everything that they do. Stay strong!

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