Austin Andemani, from IMRF Member Royal Life Saving Society, writes:

The third Reach Hand Uganda Youth Camp took place from 22th to 28th May 2016 at the HANA MIX School. There were over 600 young people from across East Africa and refugees, who were sponsored by Inter Aid. The theme for this year’s camp was Life in My Shoes. The camp, as usual, was packed with fun and educative activities. Also various presentations took place by individuals and organisations during this one week’s event.

Royal Life Saving Society Uganda’s role was to present Water Safety and the provision of safety in the swimming pool from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th May 2016. Some of the Royal Lifesaving Society volunteers, whom participated during the event were: Emmanuel Mwedo, Mathew Ochola, David Dralega, Celestine Kafuko, Gadafi Toko, Paddy Kiwanuka and Austin Andemani.

The volunteers presented the Water Safety theory by the swimming pool side and did the practical in the swimming pool. The participants, ranging from 10 to 24 year olds, also attended the previous two camps of 2014 and 2015. They initially could not swim, but were given the basics of swimming as a key survival skill by Royal Life Saving Society Uganda during the 2014 and 2015 camps. During this period all of the previous participants, now mastering the basics of swimming, were now swimming at least with one stroke, mainly Breast Stroke and Front Crawl.

There were also new participants, who took an interest in learning swimming as a basic requirement for drowning prevention. All of them were able to float. Some were able to do Breast Stroke, while others were able to do the Front Crawl. They were advised to continue practicing with what they had learned. One of the refugees, a woman from Somalia, took a keen interest in Water Safety. She stated that they had many cases of drowning in Somalia, hence the need for Water Safety skills.

Those who knew how to swim, were swimming in the deep part of the pool under watchful eyes of some of the Royal Life Saving Society Uganda volunteers. Within the three days there were five incidents that occurred. Two incidents were serious; one person was rescued using a Reach Rescue, and the second was rescued using a Tow Rescue, because he was too far into the swimming pool.

The Royal Life Saving Society’s ‘Reach Hand Uganda Youth Camp’ ended on Thursday 26th May 2016.