Kids from suburbs, Factreton, Kensington and Maitland learning to swim as well as life-saving skills including first aid over the holidays at Royal Road, Maitland Holy Cross High School. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)
Kids from suburbs, Factreton, Kensington and Maitland learning to swim as well as life-saving skills including first aid over the holidays at Royal Road, Maitland Holy Cross High School. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)

Water safety top of mind for children who graduated from Maitland’s swimming academy

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jan 14, 2022

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Cape Town - With the hot summer weather propelling families to public swimming pools and the ocean, water safety is top of mind for a group of 60 young people – mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds – who graduated on Thursday from an aquatic academy in Maitland.

As well as swimming and life-saving skills, the children received lectures in firefighting and first aid at the Warobile Lifesaving Aquatics Academy run by retired City law enforcement officer Keith Abrahams.

Provincial ACDP leader Ferlon Christians, who served with Abrahams in the City’s law enforcement unit, was a guest at the graduation ceremony.

He said that he had attended the graduation as a measure of support for his former colleague’s initiative and that he was looking at ways in which the programme could garner more support and grow.

“This might look like a small thing, but the impact is huge because it is every household, every community where these children come from that will be impacted.”

A parent of one of the graduates, Annameka Carter, said: “This is the first time we’ve had something like this in our area and water safety is very important as are all the other aspects of saving a life such as fire and rescue, first aid etc.

“The kids that are here come from the poorer communities and this helps to keep them away from some of the negative elements that are found in our areas.”

She said that the programme was

free of charge and that was why funding and donations were crucial to keep it going.

“The things they have learnt here in these 19 days – such as preventing fires, swimming, lifesaving skills, are not things they can easily forget and will stay with them for life.”

Abrahams said as he had no funding for the project he had to dig into his own pocket.

“I was determined to make it happen for these children. It was almost R1,000 every day just for transport

"I am hoping that we can get funding or donations so that we can continue with the programme. This was our first proper full class and they have all graduated."

The children taking part in the programme came from the communities of Kensington, Factreton and Maitland and nearby townships. Abrahams now wants to expand the project to Gugulethu and Khayelitsha.

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