Ho Chi Minh City will be providing 5,000 local children with free swimming lessons starting next month in a bid to reduce the number of young drowning cases.
The swimming classes will be offered between March and August for children aged from eight to 16 years old, with those coming from poor family prioritized, according to the city’s Youth Union.
The free swimming course includes 12 sessions, providing children with basic swimming skills and teaches them how to rescue a drowned person and to perform resuscitation.
The free swimming lesson is sponsored by the Ho Chi Minh City Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention, Search, and Rescue.
Outlying districts including Can Gio, Nha Be, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, and Binh Chanh are allowed to have 500 spots each, whereas District 11 and Tan Phu, Phu Nhuan and Binh Tan Districts each can select 400 students.
The more central and better-off neighborhoods, namely District 3, 5, and 10, are given 300 participation slots each.
The remaining districts, though not listed as beneficiaries of the free program, are encouraged to organize their own swimming classes for local children by cooperating with the local sports centers and Red Cross offices.
According to a recent report by WHO, there are more than 11,500 cases of children drowning in Vietnam every year, making it the second highest country after Bangladesh with approximately 17,000 fatalities annually.
The underlying reason lies in two factors -- the significant amount of rivers and streams in Vietnam plus the lack of proper swimming skills of the local youngsters.
As a result, Ho Chi Minh City officials have come up with the idea to providing free swimming lessons for children, with a hope to reduce the number of drowning cases among young people.