Victoria’s surf coast recently hosted an all-female team of Sri Lankan lifesavers for an educational program designed to develop the culture of water safety in the country.
The cross-cultural program between Life Saving Victoria and Sri Lanka Life Saving attempted to provide the Sri Lankan lifesavers with both practical water skills and the means to educate Sri Lankan youth in basic water safety.
The island state’s proximity to the Indian Ocean, combined with a cultural fear of the danger that it poses, has resulted in a high drowning rate in the country.
As many parents are so fearful of the ocean, they discourage their children from swimming at all, leaving them unprepared to respond to any emergency situations they may find themselves in.
In addition to introducing compulsory swimming classes at school, Sri Lanka Life Saving sent the team of young women to Australia, to learn how to create a culture of water safety from the best in the business.
The Aussie legends from Life Saving Victoria took some time out to instruct and lead the team of Sri Lankans, equipping them with the best knowledge and skills and our heroes of the beach use themselves.
Asanka Nanayakkara, the Sri Lanka Life Saving President, said that the lifesavers had two key outcomes from the collaborative project.
First of all, the team wanted to improve upon their own skills as lifesavers, which were put to the test through a series of gruelling open water rescue simulations off the Victorian coast.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they wanted to develop the country’s message on water safety, and put together a plan on how to better educate Sri Lankan communities, with a focus on young people and children.