We know that water is vital for survival, yet in Bangladesh, water also has the power to kill.
From June to October approximately 80% of Bangladesh’s yearly rain will fall and, notably in the north of the country, will flood and damage anything that comes in its way.
Imagine having no running water, electricity, or having any access to daily essentials like health clinics, schools and markets. Imagine losing your home or worse still losing your family.
The Sreepur Village is a UK-based charity that runs and funds a rural village in Bangladesh for over 200 vulnerable women and more than 450 disadvantaged children. Many of these women and children have their lost their homes and families due to the country’s extreme weather conditions and have come to The Sreepur Village to seek shelter, an education, food, 24/76 care and training so that they can look forward to a future without any poverty or fear.
The #SwimSafe schemes commenced once again in The Sreepur Village. They are run by a team from the CIPRB (Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh) who, along with assistance from the British RNLI, have devised learn to swim schemes that are run in both rural and urban areas in Bangladesh.
The reason why these lessons are so valuable is that over 40 children die every single day in the country from drowning because there is so much water around, particularly during the monsoon season. Also, there is no real culture of learning to swim from a young age. Plus, there are just not the facilities or teachers available to run swimming lessons
The lessons take place in one of the ponds in the village grounds – a bamboo structure consisting of two rectangles. With the recent donations that we have kindly received, The Sreepur Village is delighted that they will now be able to upgrade this structure to a more-sturdier platform.
The aim of the swim scheme is for every child to be able to swim 25 metres, float or tread water for 30 seconds and perform a dry land rescue. So often a child will fall into the water and begin to struggle, and other children will try and jump in to save that child, putting everyone in danger.
We were very fortunate to have Becky Horsbrugh, a journalist and swim teacher from London join us again and help with the lessons.
We are also ensuring some of our staff members learn how to teach swimming so that they can run the programme next summer. So eight members of staff will be taking it in turns to join the children in the swimming pond.
Your donations really do make a difference to the lives of our mothers and children, and if we can raise more money then, we can continue our SwimSafe programme and teach many more children in the prevention of drowning which in the long term means saving many, many more lives.
If you would like to get involved with one of our ongoing projects, then please visit: www.sreepurvillage.org
by Natalie Manning, The Sreepur Village charity