When: Saturday, August 24, 2013 to Sunday, August 24, 2014
Number of participants: 220
Service hours: 11 000
Survival Swim lesson for Low Income Thai Scouts
13th Sep 2013
Drowning is a silent and preventable epidemic; Thai Ministry of Public Health data indicated that approximately 1,500 Thai children died because of drowning each year or over 4 deaths per day. UNICEF reported that child drowning is one of the leading causes of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Philippines and Thailand. Drowning rates in developing countries are 10 to 20 times as high as those in rich countries.
Thailand, the Venice of the East, is a flood prone country with a lot of rivers, ponds and lakes with long coastlines and many islands. Most of the Thai people in the past can swim efficiently, but millions of the present Thai children and adults cannot swim because of the changing way of life, lack of access to swimming facilities, financial constraints with the undesirable of polluted rivers, ponds and other natural water resources.
One of the most important ways to reduce drowning is to teach children to swim. Many of the Thai children who cannot swim came from low income families and study in remote small schools without swimming facilities and instructors. The natural waterways which used to be indigenous training stations for local children in the past became polluted, unused, with dangers of snakes and reptiles.
Swimming lesson is not compulsory in Thai public School. The general practice of traditional swim lessons available, emphasize speed competitive swimming to be conducted in swimming pools. This is not practical in the case of swimming for survival and rescue.
The Thai Scout Promotion Foundation with support from The Scout Advisory council decided to find ways and means to train Thai scouts who cannot swim to be able to swim in order to save their own life and help others in water accidents. An initial project was arranged to give free training for 200 low incomes but high good deeds Thai scouts on Survival Swimming lesson according to American Red Cross Standard for 3 days 2 nights at Siam Park Scout Camp’s swimming pool. A fund of 200,000 baht (approx US $ 6,500) was provided for the swim training in the scout camp at a cost of 1,000 baht (about 33 U.S.$ per person).
The American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Program Level 1 (Code 34901) consists of: Enter and exit water safety, submerge mouth(head) independently, exhale underwater through mouth and nose, open eyes underwater, pick up submerged object at least 2 times, float on front and back with support, swim on front and back using arm/leg actions, rollover front to back-back to front with support , treading-explore arm and hand movements in chest deep water, follow basic water safety rules, helping others ,use a life jacket, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation(CPR). The exit skills assessments are: 1.Enter unassisted, move 5 yards, bob 5 times to chin level, safety exit water. 2. Float on front with support for 3 seconds, assisted roll to back, assisted float on back for at least 3 seconds.
The Thai scouts were taught to shout for help from adults in emergency, how to swim safely, how to keep themselves afloat until help arrives, how to save a peer if they get into trouble, how to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. These skills will stay with them for life. They are trained to react to people struggling in water, drag them out using poles or throw floating objects to rescue the drowning without actually going into the water after them.
The Thai scout’s survival swimming program was initiated with big success and will expand to train more scouts as many as possible to reduce fatality rate and be prepare to help others at all times.