The vast majority of families in the Dong Thap and Tien Giang provinces in Southern Vietnam live at or below the poverty line in poorly built and unsafe homes. To make matters worse, the region is one of the most disaster-prone in the region.
These provinces sit within the Mekong Delta, and are at risk from seasonal floods, mudslides and typhoons, causing loss of life and injury, damaging essential infrastructure and destroying livelihoods.
That’s why our Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction program is working in these provinces to help communities prepare for disaster and mitigate the impact when they strike.
Not only are we doing this through building disaster resilient homes and providing community training, we are also running a swimming program for school students to help save lives during the flood season and reduce instances of drownings.
The swimming program is taking place in two locations – one is in a swimming pool in Tien Giang province and the other in a river in Dong Thap which uses a specially designed netted cage that provides a safe and enclosed space for the lessons to take place.
Megan Krolik, Habitat Australia’s Regional Program Manager recently visited the project and spoke to the students about the swimming lessons. They excitedly told her they feel much safer now that they know how to swim and are confident and happy in the water. Many even come early to class and swim for fun in the river after school, but only when an adult is there to supervise.
Thanks to our supporters the swimming lessons have gone from reaching a targeted 150 students to 170!
The students also took part Disaster Risk Reduction training so they can become more aware of the hazards in their community and how to stay safe during a disaster. Ngoe, 9 said “I learned when the water is fast and flowing, we don’t go near the river as we may get washed away.” Eight year-old Linh added, “When it rains we have to stop the water coming inside. We use a bucket to get the water out of the house.”
River swimming lessons in Dong Thap