On March 11th, the Vice Chairman of the Danang People’s Committee, Mr Phung Tan Viet, awarded Former American Ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson and his wife, co-founder of The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) Vi Peterson, with a certificate acknowledging their contribution to the achievement of social development in Danang.
On behalf of the city, Mr Phung Tan Viet, acknowledged the contributions of Pete and Vi Peterson and TASC for helping many children in the city to learn survival swimming skills. He stated this was first and foremost important to reduce their risk of drowning and also important as they can help other children should they get into trouble in the water.
Mr Viet stated that these skills were vital as Danang, a city in the middle of Vietnam, suffers from floods and natural disasters and has many rivers and other water bodies. Specifically, Mr Viet said, the program created awareness for schools and families on the importance of teaching survival swimming skills to prevent children from drowning.
In 2012, the SwimSafe program taught nearly 7,500 students the skills of survival swimming, an increase of 1,500 students on the target numbers of the program last year. In total over 22,000 students in Danang have been taught the lifesaving skills of survival swimming through the program and more than 120 teachers and 15 lifeguards are trained instructors of the program.
In his speech at the meeting, the former American ambassador thanked The Management Board of the Department of Education and Training for coordinating well with The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) during SwimSafe’s four years of operation teaching the children of Danang the lifesaving skills of survival swimming.
Pete Peterson said “Our goal is not to teach 6 to 12 year olds to become swimming competitors, but to teach them skills to be safe, so they can rescue themselves and their friends should they get into trouble in the water.“
The Former American Ambassador shared that he will continue to try and find funding in the future, to keep the program going not only in Danang but to duplicate the portable pool model more widely in Vietnam.
If you would like to support the SwimSafe program in Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh, you can donate through the Global Drowning Fund.