Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam

by Golden West Humanitarian Foundation
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Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam
Help prevent 700 children from drowning in Vietnam

Program Update:

  1. Learn to swim:

-          Number of students enrolled and completed in course 1(during schooling year):

-          Quang Ninh: 251; Dong Hoi: 290, Le Thuy: 581. Total is 1,122 students.

-          For summer course, starting from June up to present:

-          Quang Ninh: 715, Dong Hoi: 186, Le Thuy: 594. Total: 1,495 students are learning to swim.


Training for swim teachers:

-          2 training courses for new teachers and pool supervisors from 15 planned new pools have been conducted. Course 1 was from 9-12 April with 25 teachers, and course 2 was from 16-19 April; with the participation of 27 teachers. Total of 52 teachers have been trained. These two trainings were provided by 1 trainer from Dept of Sport and 2 trainers from SFL team. The certificates were given to all participants with logo of SFL and Dept of Sport, as an official acknowledge that teachers are certified to instructat pools.

-          And 1 refresher training for returned teachers/supervisors of 11 current pool, to apply new revised curriculum, with 27 returned teachers were given training by 2 SFL staff. They have all been introduced to new curriculum for 2019.


  1. Water Safety Education:

-          Initiated by DOET Minh Hoa, with the main message: "Education of water safety skills to prevent the drowning in coming summer" for students in 5 primary and secondary schools in Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province.Recently, on May 21st and 22nd 2019, Swim for Life cooperated with 5 schools: Minh Hoa Primary School, Hoa Tien Primary School, Hoa Hop Primary School, Quy Dat Town Secondary school and Xuan Hoa secondary school in Minh Hoa mountainous district, Quang Binh province in order to organize the communication program "Knowledge of drowning prevention". The purpose being to improve and strengthen the knowledge and awareness of students, parents, and the community about safe swimming.

SFL team attended to improve awareness of water safety, introduce the skills of rescue, help students to recognize the places of danger; how to call for help, how to help friends and others in a safe way.


Main activities:

-               Painting competition with the subject "Swimming, preventing drowning”; watch videos about drowning prevention; the "Golden Bell" Contest on the topic of drowning accident prevention; reinforce knowledge of prevention of drowning accidents and rescue knowledge for students, teachers, parents, local leaders/officials who now have a better understanding and knowledge on these topics.


-               5 events in 5 schools in 2 days attracted the participation of 1,306 students; 127 teachers, local leaders/officials; nearly 100 parents; 10 representatives from Commune People's Committees and leaders of Minh Hoa District Education Department.

The program has received the attention and support of relevant departments as well as the enthusiastic participation of students.

(Please kindly see attached some pictures of the program at 5 schools)


  1. Community Awareness Raising:

-          SFL was invited by QB Television to participate in a Talk-show on ‘Warning on Drowning to Children’. SFL PM shared the objective of the program, its history, and raised the concerns of the increasing rate of drowning in QB recently, solutions for reducing the numbers of children drowning, the extent of support of GW/SFL to the local school pools, and to provide suggestions/recommendations to local authorities in not only supporting to build a pool but also for the entire community to engage in water safety education for children, as well as other members in the community, especially parents and care givers.

-          SFL has contracted with Quang Binh Newspapers to make a short film/trailer on raising awareness of drowning prevention, with different scenarios, such as to record the SFL activities of training, a role play on why having knowledge on water safety is important, why learning swimming also impacts the whole life of a child etc. This activity is ongoing and it is planned to complete by July 2019. It is expected that a film/trailer will be on Facebook, web page of Quang Binh and other channels of social media etc.


  1. Partnership:

-          Youth Union (YU) of Quang Binh Province is seeking the opportunity to work in collaboration with SFL for water safety education for the 2 most needy districts of Tuyen Hoa and Minh Hoa where most drowning accidents have occurred. YU of QB delegates and YU of 2 districts to mobilize students and community to participate in the WSE event. They will arrange all logistics, SFL will support with presentation, documents, practice, video show etc. Youth Union is making all efforts to mobilize different resources at provincial People’s Committee and Central Youth Union in Hanoi to support with pools in those two districts, especially in Minh Hoa.


-          Red Cross of Quang Binh Province: RC called successfully for funding from VINACONEX company in Hanoi to build up a portable pool in Tuyen Hoa district, and the pool was set up 15 June. They plan to start swimming lesson in July, with planned 5 continuous courses for 150 students. Since RC has no experience to run/operate the pool, and lack of resources, they have suggested SFL/GW to support the swimming curriculum, a training for 20 swim instructors on job-training basis, chemical treatment, floats, support to pool supervisor. RC has drafted a MOU to be agreed upon between GW/SFL and RC on this partnership with the expectation of having RC engaged in making the pool available, then SFL/GW to support technically. In addition to that, the water safety education is also suggested by RC to support focused schools students to be conducted at the community house or related communes or schools.


-           SOS Village (orphanage) in Dong Hoi City: Being aware of how important water safety education is for children, especially ones who are homeless living in the village, the Leaders of SOS Village raised the question to SFL if we can support them or not. In term of technical support, SFL technical staff Tho and Trung can do that, since we already did similarly to 5 schools in Minh Hoa in May. A further discussion between SOS and SFL on this support will be during week of 24-28 June.

-          MOLISA/Bloomberg project has invited Trung – SFL to attend in the training for TOT, for 5 days in Ha Noi, and after this training, Trung is doing training for new 15 swim instructor of Bo Trach district.

-          INGO conference call has been regularly done on monthly basis for each organization update on their activities, and share the information of MOLISA/Bloomberg project and other updates nationally.










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The year 2019 of our team started with the huge workload to be ready for a busy swimming year. Thanks to our friends and donors for your great support and continuous contributions to make a year ahead successful in preventing the drowning rate of children in Quang binh province, Vietnam.

In this quarter (from Jan to March), SFL team mainly spent time to finalize all necessary documentations such as curriculum for learning to swim to fit with the current practice; update and finalize all templates/forms that have been applied during the swimming lessons/seasons to make it more consistent to the current and new project sites. A database system was also strengthened to measure the pass rate of enrolled students required by the SFL program. By that, it is required each student must pass swimming over 25 meters, 2 minutes of treading water, above 8 score of Water safety education written test, Ok with at least a rescue skill. Besides that, a record why students fail, rate of female, male students, grade of student, school of student, gender, number of lessons attended, average class attended, distance of stroke, list of student graduated, repeated students, students dropped out...ect was developed, too.

The aim of all above arrangements is to gradually perfect the program operation and administration for year 2019. This year, it is planned to have more pools within the province of Quang Binh called for support from the Swim for life, in term of chemical and water treatment, kickboards/noodle floats for children to practice at pools, records of the swimming program at pools, partly operational support to the pool supervisors…ect. And the partner pools agreed to cover all the cost related to salary payment to swim teachers/instructors, construction and installation of their pools, schedule of swimming lessons for their children/pools, swim teacher assignment for each course.

In this quarter, all preparations for swim teachers trainings were settled. One training for returned teachers, and two other trainings for around 60 new swim teachers from 15 new pools will be conducted in 3 first weeks of April, 2019. We have worked in collaboration with local partner – Department of Sport of province Quang binh– to send their trainers, with our training team – to deliver 3 above trainings.

Meanwhile, several meetings/discussions with relevant Department of Education to come into agreement to apply the revised swimming curriculum in other project sites were taken place in March.

Quang binh province is located in central region of Vietnam, where the most suitable weather for swimming lessons is from April to September, while the rest of the year is cold and raining. It is forecasted that this is a hot year, therefore an increased number of children enrolled in the swimming lessons will be remarkable.

With the support of our friends, donors that have given your continuous and kind contribution, we believe that, rate of children equipped life skills will be raised up. Number of drowned will be reduced, and there will be no more sad stories of a group or individual children get accident in the water.



SFL Team

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The year 2018 ended closely marking a successful season, thanking to our friends and donors for your great support and contributions to make it happen in preventing the drowning rate of children in Quang Binh province, Vietnam.

In line with National Drowning Prevention Plan in Vietnam, on 9th November, staff of Golden West Swim for Life project joined “WORKSHOP ON SOLUTIONS FOR WATER SAFETY AND CHILD DROWNING PREVENTION” organized in Hà Noi capital by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, Charity Fund of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization (Representative Office for Vietnam) and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator. At the workshop, representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, international organizations and Ministries, sectors and localities of Viet Nam shared their experiences in implementing drowning prevention and discuss, comment on supporting documents for the project towards the highest common goal is to reduce the drowning rate for children in Vietnam.

The statistics of the Quang Binh Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), from 2016 to date, shows that the death rate of drowning among school-aged students across the province is 82,6 % higher than the rate of death from road traffic accidents, abuse/violation, other reasons. The Quang Binh DOLISA reports that in total of 75 children died from drowning, road traffic accidents, abuse/violation, other reasons, 62 children died from drowning in the province in 3 years from 2016-2018.

For such unexpected statistics, most bodies of whole province have recently engaged in the task to eliminate the drowning rate that can be prevented. An increased number of portable pools up to 9 in the year, which were supported by the community contributions through in-kind, invested by local authority budget, cost-sharing from children’s parents; reached the technical support by the Golden West Swim for Life team members. With 11 portable pools at 3 in the total of 8 Administration Districts of Quang Binh province, supported with the good heart and your continued support and care, 3,028 students enrolled during the year 2018, (grade 1 – grade 9) and kept continuing through the swimming courses: 2,990 students, occupied 98,7%. In which, 1,968 could swim over 25m, occupied 65%. While 1,809 could tread water/ do back-float in 120 seconds, occupied 59,7%, 2,236 students have given their right answers in the written test for water safety education questions, rated 73,8 % .

Throughout the schooling year of 2018 Swim for Life school program has more achievements as follow:

  • Continue to enhance the quality of one existing portable pool as a learn to swim model for the SFL program
  • Successful transition of one another GW funded portable pool to school and local authority for self-management starting in early 2018, while SFL continues to support technically.
  • 9 more new portable pools are given technical support in terms of pool operation, management, pool supervisor salary support, chemical support, swim teacher training.
  • In addition to 3,028 students enrolled in the portable pools program as mentioned above, more students in rural districts (584) are given the opportunity to learn how to swim in the open water sites (rivers, spillways …ect). Students who have completed from safe swimming class would have access to skill training such as resuscitation and First Aid.
  • 136 swim teachers and supervisors (for portable pools and open water sites) have been trained and refreshed to be qualified for self-running of the program.
  • Coordinate with the local organizations to propaganda knowledge and skills of water safety for students, particularly working with Youth Union of Quang Binh Province to do a training for 130 students.
  • Organize the contest to learn knowledge about preventing drowning accidents at schools, with the participation of about 403 school students from 1st to 5th grade, and more than 200 parents and community members attended for cheering and encouraging all students that make the contest more excited. With exciting activities such as the Ringing the Golden Bell (learn about water safety), paintings (safe swimming, drowning prevention), skills of rescue (basic skills such as: how to save your friend from drowning? Or how to deal if you accidentally drowned? ....), all teams of students took part in all activities in a very active manner with many excellent answers. 
    This is a very necessary activity in raising awareness for the students and parents on drowning prevention for children.

Under our swimming program, there is a story in the class for free swimming lessons at GW funded portable pool in Quan Hau Town, Quang Ninh District, Quang Binh Province that we were very impressed.

 After the announcement of the summer swimming course, a grandfather of a 7th grader to enroll in swimming lessons for his grandchildren. At that time, the swimming class accepted only students in grades 3 through 5 (at age of 8 to 10), so his application was not accepted. Looking at him with a sad face that swim teachers did not know what to say to him.

The next day he came, he said: "Teachers, please create conditions for my grandchild to learn swimming, I will give you a good payment for your instructing to my grandchildren".
At that time, we said: "We only accept students from grade 3 to 5, but your grandchild are not at age we can serve and we can not receive him, we feel very sorry about that." Even though hearing that, the man still stayed there, refused to come back, and at the end of the day the man was still standing there, we just came to tell him: “ Uncle! we can not decide, please ask the principal, if she agrees, we will get to teach your grandchild" At that time his face was very cheerful, he went to the principal's room to present to her. However the principal was away, the man could not meet her. And during that week, we always saw him standing in front of her room for waiting.

One week later, the principal came back school after her business trip completed, hearing the story of the man, she asked him: "Why do you insist that your grandchild should go to learn swimming? Why he does not spend time learning other subjects? " The grandfather replied: "To be honest, other subjects my grandchild can learn whenever possible, but he must learn to swim first, with those subjects, if he can not learn now, he can do it again, but if he encounters bad situation without safety swimming skills, there is no more chance for him. I have witnessed a very dreaded drowning, so I understand the importance of learning to swim safely. I want to let him take part in swimming lessons for a long time, but I do not know where he can learn, so now I know SFL program has a portable pool in this primary school, so I can register for him to learn now". 
The Principal came telling swim teachers: "Please arrange for his grandchild to learn swimming, because he is at good awareness on the meaning of the subject, I do not want to refuse him, this is an exception".

With this story, it has been shown that living skills, survival and safe skills are very important in our life, especially for the children that last in their long life when growing up. And we are very proud of providing more and more opportunities for children to be accessible to our swimming program, thanking to your kind heart and great support to GW/SFL program for now and future.

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With the completion of Summer, Swim for Life has seen over 1000 children in Qaung Binh, Vietnam achieve a level of safe swimming practices.

Working with collaboration of the Provincial Education Department of Quang Binh, Swim for Life worked with teachers across Qung Ninh to improve their swim teaching delivery. The selected 12 teachers were able to discuss the highlights of their programs while receiving technical advice on how to better implement swim programs. The Quang Ninh District Education representative said how the ‘High level of student interest shows an enthusiastic approach to lowering the drowning toll. The need is to keep these students in the program for the whole period. This is where we are thankful to Golden West Swim for Life for the continued support and resource sharing.’    

Swim for Life will continue over the remainder of the year to promote safe swimming practices. Working with the different levels across the Department of Education in Quang Biknh, to ensure that all school pools are properly managed with number of student and teacher ratios. That all students have access to learn swimming skills despite their gender, ethnicity, parent income level, and school location.

Survival swimming skills such as survival breaststroke and backstroke as well as sculling and treading water are taught to children aged 6-14. Rescue skills include calling for help, understanding the safety steps to be around water, reach and throw rescues are important life skills these youngsters are exposed to. Without your committed support, Swim for Life cannot continue to achieve these essential targets. We thank you for your interest and enjoy sharing our successes with you.

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Half way through the 2018 year and half way through summer swimming lessons!

Swim for Life is PROUD of the commitment our swim teachers show in reducing drowning incidents across Quang Binh, Vietnam.

Over 30 surival swimming lessons, across a number of school pools, are held daily in an effort to raise the skill level of children to lower the drowning toll. Children aged 6-14, are taught survival swimming skills,  rescue skills  calling for help, understanding the safety steps to be around water. Without your committed support, Swim for Life cannot continue to achieve these essential targets that important life skills these youngsters are exposed to. We thank you for your interest and enjoy sharing our successes with you.  

The drowning trend of Vietnam rises during the summer months, as many children in rural or countryside areas like to swim in local rivers, lakes or the beach. These children are often unaccompanied by adults who can explain and comprehend the dangers around water, such as currents, tides, depths and the temperature.   

The strong working relationship with the Provincial Education Department of Quang Binh, opened the opportunity for Swim for Life to provide 8 new school pool programs with much needed swimming equipment and support. The collaboration also saw piolt open water program being implemented in 6 safely idenifed river sites. Training with another member of the INGO Drowning Prevention Collaborative, Hue Help, Swim for Life confirmed 16 primary/secondary schools to undergo this pilot swim program in open water sites.  32 Physical Education teachers were trained to introduce valuable water safety and survival skills into their schools.

Thousands of children live along costal lines and rivers, it is important that children learn their safety messages in an environment that is near them. Pools are expensive to build and to maintain, introducing safe, supervised swimming lessons into rivers can give children the same important life skills. 

Please click the link to read and see more about Swim for Life programs that are continually being implemented with your suport.

Thank you for your time in contirbuting to reducing the drowning toll of Vietnam.  

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Organization Information

Golden West Humanitarian Foundation

Location: Woodland Hills, CA - USA
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Golden West Humanitarian Foundation
Kevin Espirito
Project Leader:
Kevin Espirito
Woodland Hills, CA United States

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