Vietnamese children: Keeping their heads above water

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The ocean and rivers of Vietnam are an integral part of their culture. With over 3000 islands and a coastline of 3260km, it’s no surprise that the fishing industry accounts for 10.14% of Vietnam’s GDP.

Yet each year between 4,000 and 10,000 Vietnamese children drown. Joanne Stewart, founder of SwimVietnam, is working towards ensuring Vietnamese children never have an average day.

Joanne had been trying to organize a community triathlon in Vietnam when she found that large numbers of children were unable to swim. In 2008, she founded a swim survival program called ‘SwimVietnam’. By the end of the first year over 300 children were taught how to swim safely.

With the help of sponsors Swim Vietnam has since grown from a mere 3 teachers into 120 qualified swim instructors across 5 different locations. In 2013 alone, SwimVietnam taught 2500 children important survival skills and has doubtless saved countless lives.


In 2014, Joanne participated in Brighton Rotary’s ‘Australia day swim’, enthusing about the community spirit and connectedness she experienced.

Joanne graciously accepted $15000 from Brighton Rotary’s Australia Day Swim proceeds.

“This is the perfect sponsor for Swim Vietnam which is providing swimming lessons and promoting swimming as a sport in a country where these opportunities are rarely available.”

These funds will be used to build more pools and train instructors, an important step towards helping Vietnamese children enjoy their beautiful waterways safely.


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