Albury Wodonga News

‘I Just Want To Be Like Everyone Else’ - Local Refugee Children Benefit from the VICSWIM Program

Source: VICSWIM
Posted: 22 Jan 2020
Children from Hamilton’s Burundi community with VICSWIM instructor Michelle Grant and Richard Murphy. From back left: Joyeuse Mbabazi stands with her younger sister, Amos, Adelianne, VICSWIM instructor Michelle Grant, Richard Murphy. Front row: Aline, Alianne, Andrew. In front: Joyeuse’s other little sister.
In a 2018-19 report published by Life Saving Victoria, 18% of drowning deaths were of people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Victoria.

Every Victorian child needs to learn how to swim and water safety skills, and that’s exactly what we’re doing at VICSWIM.

Despite living in different sides of Victoria, Richard Murphy, a member of the Hamilton Area Rural Australians for Refugees (HARAR), and Deirdre Atkins from Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group (MVSRG), held concerns about the children in families who had recently moved to their areas, and their ability to swim.

For reasons of culture and opportunity, many of these children had never learnt to swim; some had never been in water deeper than their knees. “If I did nothing to help make this happen, and one of them did drown; well it would be partly my fault wouldn’t it?’, says Richard. The realisation of what could have been a fatal outcome is what pushed Richard and Deirdre into advocating for an affordable swimming program in their local areas.

After talking with the parents, Richard and Deirdre started raising money in their communities and began looking for affordable swimming lessons that the children could be part of.

The low cost, high quality swimming programs available through VICSWIM were exactly what they needed. The lessons enabled an awareness of water safety, survival skills and teaching children how to swim. And, it is not just about water safety.

When Richard asked, six-year-old Joyeuse from the Burundi (Africa) community, if she would like to swim, she responded, “I just want to be like everyone else, and everyone else can swim”. To avoid embarrassment, some of the children were avoiding swimming activities at school, going as far as pretending to be sick so they could stay home.

 “We need to do this for the kids to belong, it’s the Australian way of life” Penny Vine, from the MVSRG. The VICSWIM program responded by establishing two of its 180 locations across Victoria, in Hamilton and Albury.

For many new Australians, learning about water safety, survival skills and teaching the children how to swim involves a cultural shift in normalising this new activity. Deirdre, Richard and Penny are excited to introduce the children to the VICSWIM program, and the children are just as excited to learn this basic Australian way of life, that most Victorians take for granted.

Children from the Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group attending a VICSWIM lesson.
 
Mercure Albury Mercure Albury Mercure Albury True Quality in Albury

Recent News

The Dragons are coming!
The Dragons are coming!
The weekend of 7th and 8th March 2020 on Gateway Lakes, Dragon Boat Victoria...
Budget Direct Launches Bushfire Recovery Fund to Assist Bushfire Affected Communities
Budget Direct Launches Bushfire Recovery Fund to Assist Bushfire Affected Communities
Budget Direct launches Bushfire Recovery Fund with grants of up to $20,000...
Successful local Albury courier business rebrands to Aramex
Successful local Albury courier business rebrands to Aramex
Albury residents may have noticed some fresh-looking delivery vans on...
NSW Government Changes Caravan Law
NSW Government Changes Caravan Law
Fire victims have received some comforting news, with the NSW Government...
One of the World's Largest Scientific Weight Loss Studies Reveals the Key to Three Times More Weight Loss
One of the World's Largest Scientific Weight Loss Studies Reveals the Key to Three Times More Weight Loss
One of the world’s largest weight loss studies by CSIRO, Australia’s national...

What's New

Daily Departures!
Daily Departures!
Firefly Express Coaches
Restuaurant 579 On Olive
Restuaurant 579 On Olive
Mercure Albury
Your Place to Stay When in Wodonga
Your Place to Stay When in Wodonga
Best Western Stagecoach Motel
News Menu:

Have You Visited

Announcement
Ian Ritchie Real EstateSpecialised Service in Residental and Commercial Sales & Rentals, Short Term & Long Term Serviced Apartments.View Ian Ritchie Real Estate »
Contact · Add Your Event · Add News · Add Your Business · Privacy · Site Map · Website © 2006-2020 Stralia Web