History of Swim Vietnam
From humble beginnings in hotel pools with a program only intended to last six months, Swim Vietnam has grown into a professional and diverse organisation, and one of the region’s oldest and most respected drowning prevention NGOs.
Tribob, a Singapore based triathlon training club and triathlon events organizer ran their inaugural triathlon in Hoi An, Central Vietnam. The event included a kids’ race but Tribob found that few local children could swim, and further investigation revealed the shockingly high drowning rates in Vietnam.
Tribob felt that survival swimming lessons for children would be a great project to give back to the local community in recognition of their hosting the triathlon.
Seeking a new challenge and an opportunity to give back to the community, triathlon enthusiast Jo Stewart stepped up to manage the new program.
Jo leaves her senior investment job in Singapore and armed with the telephone number of one person in the Hoi An tourist department sets off for Vietnam. Organise a swim program? All you need is kids, teachers and a pool, right?
Swim Vietnam started operations with only one Vietnamese swim teacher and two foreign volunteers teaching local children to swim in hotel pools in Hoi An.
In the first swim season we taught 300 children! Later that year 30 children will compete for the first time in the Tribob triathlon.
Through generous donations we were able to build our first pool, providing a safe, controlled environment for children to learn to swim. In the coming years we would build a total of eight pools, some of them portable to allow us to meet shifting demand across Central Vietnam.
We held our first AUSTSWIM teacher training for 30 Vietnamese staff. These new teachers allowed us to greatly increase the number of children taught each year.
1,000th child graduates the Swim Vietnam program!
Swim Vietnam develops a classroom-based water safety curriculum which rolled out to teachers in Central Vietnam through a partnership with local government. This curriculum reaches thousands of primary school children every year, providing them with essential water safety knowledge including how to perform safe rescues.
5,000th child graduates the Swim Vietnam program in June 2013
Two of our teachers trained as AUSTSWIM teacher trainers and presenters, allowing our staff to deliver teacher training in=house and in Vietnamese. In the coming years two more of our swim teachers would become AUSTSWIM presenters.
Swim Vietnam holds its first training course teaching other organisations in Vietnam how to teach and run the Swim Vietnam survival swimming program. The number of children reached increases exponentially.
10,000th child graduates the Swim Vietnam program in April 2015.
Swim Vietnam, in collaborations with other INGO’s in Vietnam, began discussions with the Vietnamese government to make swimming lessons and water safety education part of the national curriculum. We are advising the national government on a standard survival swimming curriculum and teacher training program.
20,000th child graduates the Swim Vietnam program.
Swim Vietnam runs a pilot program in collaboration with Children’s Hope in Action and the Kiahn Foundation to provide swimming lessons to disabled children in the community.