Just Swimming and Red Dust have been working together over the past 12 months to teach vital swimming water safety skills to children living in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. So far, we have delivered swimming and water safety lessons to more than 200 students.
Research suggests Indigenous Australians are at a much greater risk of drowning than any other Australian. Due to decreased resources and access to learning water safety skills, children are at a greater risk of being involved in water-related incidents.
Just Swimming has partnered with Red Dust Role Models who deliver health promotion programs in six remote communities in the Northern Territory. Red Dust uses best practice community development and health promotion practices to walk alongside community members, empowering, and assisting each community to lead health and well-being initiatives.
Just Swimming has raised funds to assist 5 swimming teachers to visit 3 communities. The 5 representatives were able to build community capacity and enhance skills. These tangible efforts positively impact the community long after the Just Swimming staff members leave town, and reciprocally, the experience results in personal growth and a new outlook for each Just Swimming staff member involved. This unique shared experience results in a new way of seeing and understanding the rich life in remote Indigenous communities.
Just Swimming and Red Dust received great feedback from the teachers who were involved in the experience.
‘’It was a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. It opened my eyes to the Indigenous culture and there is no doubt those who could not swim need lessons and those who could swim craved for more swimming lesson opportunities.’ says Rhona who visited Areyonga, NT.
‘’The kids are beautifully natured and very tactile. They wanted to know about me and my family and thoroughly enjoyed learning new skills in the pool,’’ says Brooke who visited Yuendumu NT
Swimming teachers had lesson outlines and key objectives to ensure children are learning key skills. These included raising an arm to seek assistance if in trouble in the water, understanding safe play and good decision making, and assessing danger in and around water. E.g. assessing a water hole for safety before entering.
There is no doubt this has been a life-changing experience for the 5 staff at Just Swimming and a wonderful experience for the communities. They very much value the opportunity and can’t speak highly enough of Red Dust.