CALD community come together to learn to swim

15 May 2017

A whole group of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) children and their families are much more water safe after a $12,000 donation from Canterbury League Club helped pay for life-saving swimming lessons.

The idea to upskill CALD families with vital water skills came from Indian Squad Women’s Association which is based in Lakemba.

“Swimming is an essential life skill and this program helped increase participants’ confidence and familiarity in the water. Within in our CALD community we had many families who were restricted in participating in water activities because of their lack of water knowledge and not being able to afford swimming lessons,” said Asma Razzak, co-founder of Indian Squad Women’s Association.

“In addition, this program encourages overall family health and releases stress since swimming is a great form of all-round exercise. Once you know how to swim, participants have developed a skill that will serve them throughout their lives.”

Over the Christmas period last year there was a high spike of drownings which claimed 15 lives – many from migrant communities who haven’t been exposed to the conditions of Australia’s surf, rivers and pools.

“As newly arrived migrants it's really hard for the families to afford the cost of swimming lessons as their income already goes to paying rent, bills, car maintenance and travelling costs. If we give families an opportunity to learn swimming, parents can overcome their fear and children will be safer near water,” said Asma.

“Australia is really unique for being surrounded by so much water and having an ingrained water culture. Many people enjoy going for a swim at beaches and rivers and as a city, Sydney has one the highest proportion of pool ownership in the country so a swimming program like this targeting CALD communities is vital to prevent tragedies and loss of life due to drownings,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.