Sport has the power to inspire young people and transform lives. This is the central idea that prompted Princess Charlene of Monaco to launch a Foundation that would work to end death and disease caused by water fatalities.
“Since I launched my Foundation in 2012, we have reached over 300 000 people in 33 countries, teaching them to swim, to learn essential water safety skills, and to appreciate the values of sport that are so dear to me. Every year, approximately 360 000 people lose their life to drowning. The tragedy is that over 90% of these deaths are in low and middle income countries and children under the age of 5 are at the greatest risk. Each life lost changes a family forever – but many of these deaths are avoidable, which is why I began the Foundation.
In the ‘Learn to Swim’ and ‘Water Safety’ programmes, my Foundation teaches school-age children swimming and water safety skills and trains bystanders in rescue and resuscitation. Central to the ‘Sport and Education’ programme is the fact that sport has the power to inspire young people and transform lives. Teaching children essential life-saving skills and the values of discipline, team-work and respect for oneself and others will enable them to lead safe and fulfilled lives.
I am determined to reduce deaths by drowning across the world. Together, we will save lives – one person, one family, one community at a time.“
– Her Serene Highness, Princess Charlene of Monaco
The Foundation focuses
on the fact that drowning is a preventable epidemic which predominantly affects children and youth. In the five years since its inception in 2012, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation has established 149 projects in 33 countries, reaching nearly half a million people, mostly children. These programmes raise awareness about the crucial issue of water safety and teach people to swim. The Foundation also uses the transformative power of the positive values of sport by giving children access to a variety of sporting disciplines through its Sport and Education initiatives, which include providing financial support to talented athletes who lack the funds to realise their dreams.
In South Africa, the Foundation has implemented projects in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, many of which reach out to underprivileged youth and teach them how to enjoy the benefits of sport in a safe and controlled manner. Thus far, the Foundation has worked with thousands of South African youth and through the efforts of the SA chapter of the Foundation, many more young lives will benefit. The valuable work of the Foundation also extends to children from disabled communities, who are often marginalised and neglected.