Aid Sri Lanka Foundation

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Wednesday 19 October 2005

From: Mike Fonfe

Received by: Email.

International Federation of Swimming Teachers Associations to the Rescue

The first three Sri Lankan female swimming teachers to be trained by the Aid Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project have just successfully completed their NaRS STA Level 2 Certificate, Poolside Helper thanks to a donation of pool rescue equipment and Swimming Teacher Log Books by the International Federation of Swimming Teachers Associations, IFSTA. The women, who were all complete non-swimmers just a few months ago, were taught to swim by the Project founder, Christina Fonfe, in the small privately owned secluded pool in Weligama.

STA Swimming Tutor, Sue Brown, who herself learned to swim as a child in Sri Lanka, heard a broadcast on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour by Christina and volunteered to come out from the UK to help. Sue has been very busy tutoring these three swimmers through their Poolside Helper and now their Swimming Teacher’s Certificate ( Beginners ). The only local improvisation on the course was Green Man, an old diving suit stuffed with rocks and 1.5 litre bottles filled with water to simulate the dead weight of an unconscious body in the water.

Inki, Pauline and Anisha with IFSTA Rescue Kit and “Bodie”

We do potentially have other swimmers who would be able to take their Pool Helper qualification but the stumbling block at the moment is a language barrier. These three swimmers had sufficient understanding of English to sit all parts of the exams. ~Next step will be to have the manuals translated into Sinhala to enable others to qualify.

The swimming project here in Sri Lanka is progressing well, but we are beginning to plateau as a bigger pool is needed. Plans are in hand to form a Women’s Swimming Association in Sri Lanka which will be affiliated to the International Federation of Swimming Teachers. The aim of the Project is to reduce death by drowning and further the course of teaching more women to swim in Sri Lanka.

Very many thanks to Mr Roger Millward, CEO of the IFSTA, for his valuable advice and for arranging the gift.