In what has been called a public health emergency, approximately 32 children drown every day in Vietnam. The United Nations International School of Hanoi created a swimming programme in 2006 with the help of the government, to provide children with this essential skill. Each academic year, 16 student volunteers teach up to 100 children to swim in weekly sessions.
The learners, a mix of elementary students, homeless teenagers and children with disabilities, are empowered to stay safe in the water, while students gain important experience for their future education and careers. "I love being part of this programme because we get to interact with the kids every week, giving us the chance to see the difference we are making," said IB DP student Andy Cole
Other students have gone on to achieve the internationally recognized American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor’s certificate, which is now offered via UNIS Hanoi. IB DP student YoonJu Gee says gaining the certificate has already led to great opportunities. “Without Swim for Life, I would never had discovered how much I love teaching,” she said. “Now I have one certificate, I want to work towards the Lifeguard certificate. I hope that whatever career I have, I’ll always continue being a swimming instructor.”