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Preece Family Fundraising Exceeds Last Years Total

The Preece Family's Fundraising Efforts

The Preece Family's Fundraising Efforts

Building on their fundraising efforts of last year the Preece Family have raised a further £719 for SwimSafe during 2014, making the total raised over the last 2 years £1079.24
In June Phil, Kathryn & Nicola completed the Great North swim in the beautiful Lake Windermere. Phil smashed his previous record and swam 1 mile in 27 minutes. Both Kathryn & Nicola swam ½ mile.

In July Phil & Nicola completed the National 3 Peak Challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours.

In July Rebecca gave a presentation on SwimSafe to her Guide Unit and ran a games evening.

In September Rebecca gave a presentation to her school about the work of SwimSafe raising the profile of the Charity.

In December Nicola, Rebecca and Hannah made and sold 39 Christmas Table Centres with the help of their Grandma.

The funds raised will go to the SwimSafe program in Bangladesh which is providing the lifesaving skills of survival swimming in order to prevent child drowning.

If you would like to make a donation to support this important work please visit the Global Drowning Fund

Preece Family present donation to Royal Life Saving Commonwealth

Preece family present funds to Commonwealth Lifesaving

Preece family present funds to Commonwealth Lifesaving

The Preece family have recently presented the funds they have raised for the SwimSafe program to Royal Life Saving Society – Australia via the Royal Life Saving Society – Commonwealth. Parents Phil and Kathryn and their three daughters, Nicola (12), Rebecca (10) and Hannah (6) were so moved by the drowning statistics across Asia that, as a family, they raised funds for the SwimSafe program through a variety of different endeavours.

Accepting the cheque on behalf of SwimSafe, Clive Holland, Deputy Commonwealth President of the Royal Life Saving Society said “it was wonderful to meet the Preece family who as a family have raised money for such a worthy cause. To hear the girls say that they take learning to swim for granted and that learning about SwimSafe made them realise not everyone is so fortunate to learn a skill that can save their lives was inspiring. Their efforts really will make a difference.”

If you would like to donate much needed funds to the SwimSafe programs across Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam you can do so by visiting the Global Drowning Fund.

UK Family Raise Much Needed Funds for SwimSafe

Rebecca, Nicola and Hannah Preece

Rebecca, Nicola and Hannah Preece

The Preece Family, from England, were so moved by the child drowning epidemic across Asia that they decided to support the SwimSafe program as their charity for 2013. Parents Phil and Kathryn and their three daughters, Nicola (12), Rebecca (10) and Hannah (6), were shocked by the statistics and wanted to help make a difference in the lives of those children at risk from drowning.

Nicola wanted to support SwimSafe as she is a swimmer and wanted to support her hobby to save other children’s lives. “It is quite astonishing that something I do every week as fun could save someone’s life”.

Rebecca was shocked by the drowning statistics, “It is scary that just because children slip into the water they could die”. Hannah supported SwimSafe because “I like swimming and want others to like it too”.

The family’s fundraising efforts included:

  • The girls baking cakes during the Summer and inviting their neighbours around to buy cakes and Pimms in the garden.
  • The Great North swim that Phil in a fantastic time of 30.40 minutes.
  • Climbing Mount Snowdon as a family in October. On the first attempt the weather conditions were so severe they had to turn back—Phil & Hannah were blown off the mountain!  However they were ok and tried again a few days later and reached the summit in time for a hot chocolate in the café before completing the descent—9 miles in 6 hours.
  • The girls have been donating part of their pocket money throughout the year and as a family putting money in the pot instead of buying cakes with a cup of tea when out & about.
  • The final fundraiser was a cake sale at school with the girls baking and decorating 200 cakes to sell to their school friends.

Through these efforts the Preece family has raised 500 pounds which will fully fund 46 children to complete the SwimSafe program of 20 lessons and provide them with essential swimming and water safety skills.

If you would like to conduct your own fundraising and donate to the SwimSafe program please visit

SwimSafe Danang profiled on Danang Department of Foreign Affairs Website

Students watching a demonstration of CPR at the SwimSafe Launch

Students watching a demonstration of CPR at the SwimSafe Launch

The SwimSafe Danang program has been profiled on the Danang Department of Foreign Affairs Website. The article discusses the history of the program and our achievements to date including over 22,700 pupils participating in the program and training 120 teachers to use the SwimSafe curriculum. 20 teachers have been trained to become trainers of teachers, and 10 teachers have participated in advanced training to become key coaches. The key coaches of SwimSafe have been recognised as a team of professional coaches by the Ministry of Education and Training and they train new teachers across the country.

To read the article please click here

To donate to the SwimSafe program in Vietnam, Thailand or Bangladesh, visit The Global Drowning Fund

Neri Ganzarski raises much needed funds for SwimSafe Bangladesh

Neri Ganzarski raises $1800 for SwimSafe Bangladesh

Neri Ganzarski raises $1800 for SwimSafe Bangladesh

As a lover of swimming with her local swim club in Seattle, Washington, Neri Ganzarski was saddened to learn about the high rate of drowning among children in Asia. She decided she would like to see what she could do to help and set about raising funds for our Survival Swimming project in Bangladesh.

As part of her Bat Mitzvah celebrations for her 12th birthday, Neri held two events, one in Seattle with friends and one in Israel with her extended family. In lieu of gifts, she asked family and friends to donate to the SwimSafe program.

Neri raised $1800 dollars through her two fundraising events. This is enough to provide 90 children with essential swimming and water safety skills through the SwimSafe program or establish three village crèche programs that keep young children safe from drowning whilst providing education.

Neri initially planned on raising funds for a children’s swim team in a developing country that might be in need of help. However as she searched the internet for such a team, she came upon the Swim Safe website where she was shocked to hear about the drowning problem in countries across Asia. Once she learned about the amazing work that SwimSafe does, she was determined to help. As a swimmer, she knew of the joy swimming gives, as well as how important survival swimming skills are in keeping children and adults safe around water. Neri hopes that her efforts will encourage other children to do the same and raise funds for important community projects such as SwimSafe.

Neri says “When I saw that so many kids die because they don’t know how to swim – something that is so important and fun for me in my daily life – I knew that this was something I needed to try and change, even by a little bit. I like that SwimSafe is able to reach so many remote places and save so many lives.”

Roei, Neri’s father is extremely proud of his daughter’s efforts. “In our faith, the Bat Mitzvah is an important milestone and signifies a girl’s maturing into a young woman. I couldn’t be more proud than to see Neri forego what would probably have been very nice gifts for herself, and instead focus everyone’s attention to such an important cause that is dear to her heart. You can’t ask for more mature than that.”

If you would like to donate to the SwimSafe program, please visit the Global Drowning Fund

NGOs work to save Asia’s drowning children

Phu Dong Primary School

About 95 percent of child drowning deaths occur in Asia, where two-thirds of the world’s children live. One project is trying to make a difference by giving kids the training they need to stay safe in the water. Drowning is emerging as a major public health concern across Asia as childhood deaths from communicable diseases decline sharply in response to high-profile educational campaigns and public health interventions. Child safety experts say swim-safety still receives little funding and attention from local governments and the international donor community.

To read the article click here

To donate to the SwimSafe program in Vietnam, Thailand or Bangladesh, visit The Global Drowning Fund

Vietnamese schools lack resources to teach water survival

A SwimSafe instructor assists a student who is scared of the water

A SwimSafe instructor assists a student who is scared of the water

The recent news of children drowning in several provinces in the Central Highland has highlighted the seriousness of the problem. Viet Nam News reporters Thu Trang and Quynh Anh spoke to authorities and experts on solving the problem. SwimSafe in-country manager Do Thi My Hoa is profiled in the article. To read the article click here

To donate to the SwimSafe program in Vietnam, Thailand or Bangladesh, visit The Global Drowning Fund

Interventions Part 1: Creches

Bangladesh Creche

Bangladesh Creche

Humanitarian aid can be dramatic. Disaster relief following tsunamis and earthquakes, evacuations from conflict zones; food drops into areas of starvation and diseases prevented with a single injection, all make compelling viewing. Add a celebrity or two and the world may just pay attention.

But within the aid sphere, child drowning is unassuming – much like drowning itself. It happens quickly, silently and singularly, therefore lacking the mass impact of a natural disaster.

“The spectacular drowning events happen when a boat sinks, but that’s not where the big numbers are,” said Ross Cox, a public health expert working with The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) and the director of the SwimSafe program in Da Nang, Vietnam.

“The stuff we’re seeing is in every country in a routine situation. Drowning happens: one, one, one,” he added, indicating the individual nature of drowning.

But they add up. For all intents and purposes, drowning is an epidemic. When approximately 200,000 children drown every year, it’s hard to consider it anything less. Urgent action and interventions are desperately needed.

Yet far from the dramatic responses which follow the dramatic issues mentioned above, recent studies and pilot programs have pointed to two specific yet simple interventions: a crèche for children aged 1–4 and swimming and water safety lessons for older children. It’s a hard sell in a world of instant gratification and donor fatigue.

But it works – unbelievably well in fact. A report released by UNICEF’s Innocenti Research division* in 2012 outlines two key elements in the fight to reduce child drowning: firstly, that drowning is a leading cause of death in children after infancy in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia; and secondly, that the two interventions can reduce drowning by a staggering 90 per cent.

In the first of this two part series, we will look at the need and effectiveness of crèches.

Crèches, or childcare facilities, simply provide safe and supervised areas for children to go when their parents are busy with day-to-day activities. What is simple and effective in the West can be equally effective in developing countries. They can also be more necessary.

In LMIC settings, the lifestyle is very much one of subsistence; the work day is usually very long and the workplace is often within or near the home. So too are the drowning hazards. In countries like Bangladesh for example, villages are surrounded by water. Ponds, irrigation channels, wells, rice paddies… water is everywhere. It is little surprise then that most of the younger children who drown do so within 20 metres of the home.

Initial research showed that the busiest time for parents was between the hours of 9am to 1pm. It was also a time when many children aged 1–4 drowned. The simple solution of providing a crèche—called an Anchal in Bangladesh—gave children a safe place to go within the village where they would be supervised and gave parents the peace of mind to know that their children were being looked after.

The pilot program results were startling. They showed that drowning death rates in children who attended Anchals were 82 per cent lower than non-attending children. Knowing how effective the Anchal intervention can be is one thing. Scaling it up to necessary coverage levels is another.

Yet what may sound potentially cost prohibitive is actually not. To establish a village crèche program in rural Bangladesh costs only $500. To build or refurbish a building costs $80. And for only $45 you can provide the funds for 25 children to attend a crèche for one month.

Crèches are simple, low-cost and highly effective ways to save children’s lives. And with as many as 50 children drowning in Bangladesh every day—as many as Australia loses every year—the time to act is right now.

There are many ways you can help Royal Life Saving prevent child drowning in low- and middle-income countries in Asia. Please visit the Global Drowning Fund to find out more.

* Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia and its prevention, was prepared jointly by members from Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC), UNICEF, International Drowning Research Centre – Bangladesh (IDRCB), Centre for Injury Prevention Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) and the Duke University / University of Singapore Graduate Medical School. The authors represent The Working Group on Child Drowning in LMICs, at the International Drowning Research Centre – Bangladesh.

Pete and Vi Peterson recognised for the contribution of SwimSafe to the social development of Danang

Mr Phung Tan Viet awarded the Danang People's Committee Certificate to Pete and Vi Peterson

Mr Phung Tan Viet awarded the Danang People's Committee Certificate to Pete and Vi Peterson

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.

BBC Feature The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) Founder

More than 30 years after being stripped, bound and paraded through countless Vietnamese villages, Pete Peterson returned to the country as America’s ambassador. While there, he shook the hands of his captors – and began a mission to save the lives of young swimmers.

You can read the full story on the BBC website here

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Preventing child drowning in Asia through teaching survival swimming skills

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