From 19-26 June 2021, we are celebrating Drowning Prevention Week – a topic that the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa and our partners are very passionate about.
One of our first initiatives this year with LifeSaving South Africa will give 400,000 children across 4,300 schools in South Africa access to Princess Charlene’s Living Water programme!
Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco has previously said, “My Foundation aims to educate the public about the dangers of water and drowning, teaching children preventative measures to decrease water-related mortality, and teaching people how to swim.
“The wonderful line-up of initiatives planned for 2021 include cleaning the environment around our pools, rivers, and oceans, repairing and revitalising derelict state swimming pools and bringing sponsored swimming lessons to the underprivileged.”
As a Foundation, we realise that learning to swim and education around water safety will play a huge role in drowning prevention in South Africa.
Drowning facts: What you need to know
In the past 10 years, 2.5 million people have lost their lives in drowning accidents. Over 90% of these accidents occurred in lower-income countries like South Africa.
Statistics South Africa also lists fatal drowning as the fifth leading cause of death in toddlers. Currently, almost 400 children die in drowning accidents every year!
Drownings in home swimming pools are prevalent among children aged 1 to 4.
According to the UN, the world’s highest drowning rates are in Africa.
Drowning can happen in as little as 20 to 60 seconds.
Other factors that influence drowning risk include lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers or close supervision, alcohol use, and failure to wear flotation devices.
The saddest thing about these statistics is that drowning is entirely preventable!
The good news
The recent global resolution on drowning passed by the UN has spotlighted the silent killer – drowning. The resolution has forced governments to work at preventing drowning actively. And that’s where initiatives like Drowning Prevention Week, the Foundation, and our partners come in.
“The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa is passionate about preventing drowning through education and our Water Safety and Learn to Swim programmes. We want to equip as many people as possible to be safe in and around water,” said board member Chantell Wittstock.
“Our efforts are focused on children since they are highly exposed to drowning hazards. They are also the most effective vehicles to share this life-saving advice with their parents, family, friend, and community,” Chantell added.
Through our programmes and social platforms, the Foundation aims to teach young South Africans to swim, perform CPR, and educate people on the importance of water safety. And this Drowning Prevention Week, we will focus on creating awareness about drowning and how you can prevent it. Starting with:
Our key tips to prevent drowning
- Learn to swim
- Learn CPR
- Erect barriers around any bodies of water children may have access to
- Always supervise children in or near water
- Never enter or allow your children to enter the water alone
- If you fall into the water, take a deep breath, and float on your back
- When you are in danger, shout for help
- If you see someone else in danger, call for help. Do not enter the water (unless you are a trained professional)
You can visit www.pcmfsa.com if you would like to support the Foundation, our partners, affiliates, and ambassadors in this life-saving work. Together, we will save lives!
About the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa
Sport has the power to inspire young people and transform lives. This central idea prompted Princess Charlene of Monaco to launch a foundation that would work to end death and disease caused by water fatalities. The Foundation focuses on the fact that drowning is a preventable epidemic that predominantly affects children and youth. In the six years since its inception, 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 sport’s positive values by giving children access to various sporting disciplines. Its Sport and Education initiatives 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. These projects 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 Foundation’s valuable work also extends to children from disabled communities, who are often marginalised and neglected.