Teaching refugees to swim

In Souda camp we decided it was a great idea to take advantage of the beautiful Aegean Sea in our morning activities. Initially we just took children into the water. We divided the volunteers into groups based on swimming ability.

Some volunteers went with the children that were unable to swim, some with the less able swimmers and some with the able swimmers.

Boys enjoying a good swim

On the first day we realised that adults were also keen to join us and so our “swimming club” grew.

We now have at least 20 swimmers every day but often more and so far we have taught 6 children, 1 man and 1 women to swim!

Diving into the Aegean Sea

In addition to the swimmers in the sea, we have families who come and watch their children learn to swim and socialise on the beach. As well as the volunteer (Drop) swimming teachers, we have refugees who help to teach.

Refreshing bath just outside the Souda Camp

Our hope is that this activity continues all summer because not only does it engage and bring people and families together, but after the trauma of arriving the beaches of Chios Island in a flimsy dinghy boat, it helps children and adults regain confidence in the water.

Text: Amelia “Ellie” Stead, Drop in the Ocean, Chios.
Photo: Eirik “Photo Guy” Solheim, Drop in the Ocean, Chios.