This summer, one of our amazing swim! teachers is heading to Brazil to teach swimming lessons and water safety to underprivileged children.
Say hello to Brandon. You may recognise him from swim! Sheffield where has worked part-time since it opened. He became a swim! teacher in 2021 and is taking all those years of experience across the globe to Itacaré, Brazil! We caught up with Brandon to learn more about his adventure….
1) Can you introduce yourself and what’s your connection to swim!
Hello, my name is Brandon and I am a student in my final year at the University of Sheffield. Having originally started working as a lifeguard, I was able to see the joys of swimming teaching and had to get involved. In September 2021 I qualified as a swim! teacher and have loved every minute of my work since! I have also assisted in the opening of many of the new centres such as swim! Mansfield, Newcastle Benton and Coatbridge!
2) Can you explain to us what your volunteering entails?
I am volunteering through SwimTayka, a charity that provides free swimming lessons and drowning prevention education to underprivileged children who live along earth’s open waters: rivers, lakes and oceans.
I will be volunteering in Itacare, Brazil. Working with SwimTayka’s partner ETIV Do Brasil.
My volunteering will involve providing swimming lessons, drowning prevention and environmental water stewardship courses to local underprivileged children. The long-term goal is to create a self-sustaining swimming programme within the community, which can then reach out to other local communities and build positive relationships across swimming programmes. Educating future generations with water safety skills and environmental education will help to achieve this goal.
3) Who does your volunteering help?
Through the volunteering, the goal is to provide local children with swimming skills, water safety knowledge and environmental education that they will carry with them for life. This will work to improve community understandings and interactions with water environments and general safety. Teaching young children also means skills and knowledge will be passed down generationally, helping contribute towards the goal of creating self-sustaining swimming programmes.
ETIV Do Brasil is a multi-agency charity, although the bulk of my volunteering will be in the pool I aim to get involved in other departments such as environmental and conservation programmes, youth development and teaching English.
4) How long are you going for and when?
My volunteering will last two weeks starting 4th September 2023 and ending on the 17th September.
5) What inspired you to undertake this adventure?
There’s a few factors which contribute towards my desire to volunteer. Through my personal study at University I came to realise how drastic yet overlooked the global drowning crisis is, with 90% of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Around this time I had spent a few months working as a teacher and had fell in love with my job, I then wanted to understand how I could contribute to tackling the global inequality which is how I found out about SwimTayka.
This led me to volunteer with SwimTayka in Indonesia in June 2022. Here I was able to contribute to tackling the problem; my volunteering involved teaching swimming lessons and water safety education to local children whom are likely to embark on water-based careers (fishermen, boat crew, etc). To do this I had to learn a World Health Organisation recognised survival backstroke and basic language skills to help the communication and deliver lessons to children. Furthermore, the solo-trip provided me with personal challenge given it was only the second time in my lifetime I had been on a plane or left the country. Therefore, being able to embark on a journey where I could provide a job I love, to a cause I care for, in a situation of great personal challenge was life-changing.
From this experience almost a year ago, I have been working with SwimTayka as volunteer support helping new volunteers along their journey. The volunteering in Brazil will allow me to once again contribute to a cause I care for whilst challenging myself in a completely new environment.
6) How can people help/support you?
My JustGiving page can be found below:
7) Has swim! supported you in any way?
swim! have donated £500 to my fundraising pot, this has really helped me get closer to my goal!
8) What do you need to do before the volunteering begins?
For my volunteering trip to go ahead I must raise £1500. In an effort to contribute towards my fundraiser, at the end of June I will be taking on the National Three Peaks in under 24 hours challenge.
More details about my volunteering and efforts towards it can be found on my JustGiving page.
Any donations towards or shares of my fundraising page would be greatly appreciated.
I would also advise people to look into the global drowning crisis. Swimming lesson accessibility and safety measures with water in high-income countries often means the global concern is overlooked and misunderstood. In reality, drowning is a problem which can have devastating effects for families, economies and societies all over the world and if we want to properly assess and tackle the issue we must first understand and raise awareness of it.
Thanks Brandon for taking the time to chat to us and we wish you all the best with your adventure ☺️