ClockSunday, 20/08/2023 08:22

“I’m not scared when I get into the water anymore”

TTH.VN - That is the confident statement of many students after completing a free-swimming class organized by the Chi Thien Fund for Children this summer. Sharing with Thua Thien Hue Weekend about the idea of implementing the Free-Swimming Program, Mr. Hoang Trong Thuy, Director of Chi Thien Fund for Children, Chief Representative of Taiwan’s Zhi-Shan Foundation in Vietnam, shared:

“Handing green presents”More than 140 sculptural artworks created on the theme of Co Tu ethnic communityArtifacts donated to Hue Royal Antiquities MuseumBonsais from three regions “converge” at Thuong Uyen GardenPerforming recitation of Zen poetry

 Mr. Hoang Trong Thuy, Director of Chi Thien Fund for Children, Chief Representative of Taiwan’s Zhi-Shan Foundation in Vietnam

Swimming is the most necessary skill to help children avoid drowning, but most swimming sessions for students have not been really effective. In some primary schools in a number of major cities, schools have also piloted swimming lessons for students to make swimming universal. However, organizing swimming lessons in schools is not easy as there is no swimming pool and specialized teachers available. This is even more difficult in rural areas.

We have the Scholarship Project to sponsor long-term scholarships for more than 4,000 students in 6 central provinces. Every summer, we are saddened to receive news of our sponsored students getting drowned. The thought of how to protect children from the risk of drowning has been always on my mind. From there, I decided to offer this free-swimming lesson.

The biggest desire of Chi Thien Fund for Children in implementing this program is to give disadvantaged students a safe and meaningful summer. Their swimming lessons only last for more than 2 weeks, but their swimming skills will help them prevent drowning and increase their fitness and height. Moreover, with the knowledge of drowning prevention and control, they can also save others in case of accidents.

How long does the free-swimming teaching program last and who are the beneficiaries, sir?

After learning about swimming teaching models as well as having meetings and discussions with schools, Chi Thien Fund for Children decided to implement this program right in this summer. Summer is the time when students have a lot of free time; meanwhile, parents in disadvantaged areas often work in tiredness to earn a living and do not have time to look after their children. Therefore, children are exposed to danger as they play by themselves in nearby rivers and lakes.

 Students of Thuy Bieu Primary School participate in the free-swimming program

Swimming classes last from 12-15 sessions until the children know how to swim and master basic skills such as proper breathing, standing in water, breaststroke swimming… The target beneficiaries of this program are students with disadvantaged circumstances from primary and secondary schools.

This is the first year that Chi Thien Fund for Children has implemented this program. The Fund has selected two schools to pilot the program, namely Thuy Bieu Primary School (Hue city) and Tran Hung Dao Junior High School (A Luoi district). These two schools are located in low-lying locations, frequently affected by floods and are home to many lakes, rivers and streams that may cause dangers to children.

There must have been many stories that impressed you from this program. Could you recount one memorable memory?

Upon opening swimming classes, Chi Thien Fund for Children regularly monitors the activities and schedules of swimming sessions, and appoints staff to supervise the classes. Interacting with children at the swimming pool, we can feel their joy when participating in swimming class, being immersed in the cool water and especially being very excited and proud of their first swimming strokes.

I am still impressed with a 5th-grade girl from Thuy Bieu Primary School during my visit to a swimming session. The little girl looks thin. Her skin is brown, but her eyes are bright and intelligent.

She proudly held the Certificate of Completion in her hand and said to me: “I will show it off to my father and brother right away. Still, they can’t believe that I can swim now. I have learned basic swimming techniques and now I am not afraid to get into the water anymore.” The children’s joy and serious attitude to learning made us very happy and realized the great meaning that this program brought to them.

Chi Thien Fund for Children has organized many meaningful activities such as awarding scholarships, building free libraries, etc. and the free-swimming program at present. What are your expectations for this program?

Chi Thien Fund for Children has implemented 3 projects, namely Studying Scholarship, Making Friends with Books, Vocational Training for disadvantaged youth, and Free-Swimming Teaching Program for Children. Indeed, I have a lot of expectations, but the greatest one is to help children learn to swim so that they can protect themselves and even help others in accidents.

Through these two pilot swimming classes, we also realized that it is very necessary to popularize swimming classes for students, especially those in low-lying areas. We also hope that, through the results of this program, many sponsors as well as other organizations and individuals will see its meaning, thereby providing additional support for us and others to further spread this activity.

We will also try harder to not only continue the free-swimming program in the following summers, but also expand its scale to have more students in low-lying and disadvantaged areas to be protected against the constant risk of drowning.

Could you tell us more about the upcoming activities and plans of the Chi Thien Fund for Children?

In Vietnam, drowning is one of the top 10 causes of death for children aged from 5 to 14 years. According to data from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the situation of child drowning has decreased in recent years. However, every year, nearly 2,000 children under 16 years of age die from drowning.

Chi Thien Fund for Children annually sponsors scholarships for nearly 100 disadvantaged students in districts, towns and Hue City of Thua Thien province. This is a form of sponsorship with an address, in which the children receive a scholarship twice a year, usually at the beginning of January and September. The scholarship is small but it also helps them cover a lot of expenses at the beginning of the 1st and 2nd semesters of a school year.

We will organize the awarding of scholarships for the second round of 2023 for sponsored students this September. Each student will receive a scholarship and a gift worth VND 700,000.

In addition to awarding scholarships and gifts to students, we also convey the affection and encouragement of donors to sponsored students. And in this round, we plan to award about 100 one-off scholarships to disadvantaged students in districts and towns of Thua Thien Hue.

In parallel with preparing for the 2nd scholarship awarding plan, we will also conduct a survey to evaluate and select primary and junior high schools to build Friendly libraries in 2024.

Thank you!

By Ngoc Ha
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