Making swimming lessons accessible

Naadhirah Mukadam teaching children from the Habibia Children’s Home how to swim.

A charity-relief organisation has teamed up with a Crawford-based swim school to give free swimming lessons to children from underprivileged communities.

Planet Mercy South Africa (SA) and Fr3kls Aquatics have been working together to give swimming lessons for the past year to children who might otherwise never have seen a swimming pool before.

According to Planet Mercy SA executive member Waheda Mukadam, the non-profit is a branch of the global Planet Mercy group and does sandwich drives at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, sanitary-pad drives for young girls, and food-and-clothing drives for the needy.

Waheda started the swimming project in September last year on behalf of her organisation with her daughter, Naadhirah Mukadam, who owns and runs the Crawford-based swim school.

“We wanted to give back to the community. We wanted to add some fun to the children’s lives for them to learn this important life skill,” she said.

Waheda said Planet Mercy SA provided the children taking part with transport, swimwear, tog bags, flip flops, T-shirts and snacks.

All the children need to have indemnity forms signed by a parent or legal guardian in order to participate.

Children from iKwezi Park in Khayelitsha took part in September last year, followed, in January, by girls from Habibia Children’s Home in Rylands. Currently, children from Westlake’s Amazing Grace Upliftment Centre are having lessons.

Naadhirah and her colleagues usually teach up to 10 children aged 10 to 14 at a time, once a week over 10 weeks. Because of Covid-19 they can only teach four at a time.

“I feel that swimming should be for all and not only for the privileged who have the means to teach their children,” she said.

“We teach them how to get in the water and how to get out of the water and what to do if they fall in water.”

Lydia Ingpen, founder of Amazing Grace Upliftment Centre, said the swimming lessons had been of great benefit to the children in their care.

“It helps them overcome their initial fears of water and they enjoy this new experience.”

Waheda said more volunteer swim instructors and resources were needed to expand the project.

Contact her at 083 786 0568 or 073 223 7984 for more information.

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