Only a small percentage of the South African population can swim, leading to an astounding 1,477 drownings per year. The best way to reduce this alarming stat is to increase the number of South Africans who can swim – and for this to happen, the first step is to ensure that swimming and water safety become a priority in all communities.
One of the barriers to swim lessons in South Africa’s underprivileged communities is the children’s lack of access to appropriate swimwear. Inappropriate swimwear contributes to a lack of confidence in the water, which impacts their skills development and sense of belonging, and makes teaching Survival Swimming a challenge.
Drowning Prevention: The NSRI’s Survival Swimming Programme
On their mission to combat this alarming reality, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) launched a water safety education programme in 2020. The programme teaches basic survival skills to ensure that children can stay afloat if they find themselves in difficult situations, and in March 2022, the NSRI successfully opened the first Survival Swimming Centre at Meiring Primary School in Riebeek Kasteel. This is a cause close to our hearts at Virgin Active, where we believe that all kids should have access to the tools they need to nurture a love for movement and stay safe while they’re at it.
Here’s how you can contribute to drowning prevention in South Africa
Donate a kids’ swimming costume, in wearable condition, at any of the below Virgin Active clubs around the country. Your donation could save a life!
Western Cape Clubs