Special thank you to our sponsor: The Future Group
Our non profit organisation, Swim For Life, rebuilds hope where it’s been damaged or lost. Our focus is to provide children in underprivileged communities with physical education, food aid, and academic opportunities.
We began Swim For Life in Lesotho, Africa, through a connection between our Suriname Ambassador and the Lesotho Ambassador. We have already worked with over 100 children just as a start up! Eventually we want to expand Swim For Life into other countries as well.
Right now, we are providing the children of Lesotho with swimming lessons. Not only does it give them a physical outlet for their energy, but swimming lessons also teach the kids to avoid drowning, which is very common in Lesotho. This is a unique service there, as there are only three pools in the entire country! We use one of them for the children to learn in.
Eventually, we want to expand our physical education program into more sports. We understand that there are 'different strokes for different folks' (please excuse our swimming pun!) and more sports will encourage more children to get involved in activities that keeps them off the street.
When we got to Lesotho and met the children, we immediately realized that swimming lessons would not be enough. Many of the kids lived on the streets full time. They didn't know where their next meal was coming from, and we couldn't ask these kids to focus if their stomachs were rumbling. So, we decided to spend a bit of extra money and buy snacks for them. At the time with our limited funds, we were only able to purchase fruit, juice, and chips for them, but the looks on their faces said that even this was much appreciated.
In the future, we want to hold a dinner for them, and also be able to provide regular meals while we are there. Hunger is such a basic, but pervasive problem in many countries, but through Swim For Life, we know we can help.
We also see a need for educational opportunities in Lesotho. Not only are many of the kids living on the streets, but education can be even further out of reach than a home. To start fulfilling this need, we had motivational talks with the kids in Lesotho. We told them about our story, our struggles coming from another small country, and we let them know it is possible to accomplish their dreams.
This is just the beginning. Our desire is to help these children access scholarships to schools and colleges in foreign countries. This is a big part of restoring the hope to the Lesotho community. As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". At Swim For Life, we know education has the strongest potential to better the community. If we can provide a bridge for the children to access education, then we know we can made a lasting positive effect on the people of Lesotho.
Where there are people in need, we’ll be there lending a hand, a smile, and an encouraging word.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
-- Nelson Mandela
Many of the children have limited experience or no experience with swimming pools. Therefore, it is our purpose to protect them and to teach them how to be safe should they fall into water.
To do great work, we need tools. Tools can vary from schooling materials to sporting gear and clothing.
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When I am asked: "So, what do you do?" I respond: "I am an NGO officer, journalist, photographer, writer & editor." This has evolved into my advising NGO's based in Africa & the Caribbean on raising their profile & visibility.
For almost 30 years I served the children of New York City as an educator. Looking back, they educated me probably as much as I taught them.
My work in journalism has taken me to many places - the underground hip hop scene of Brooklyn, New York, Kingston, Jamaica and Seward, Alaska. I have maintained a lifelong interest in international affairs, cultures and economics.
My body of work encompasses the areas of development, education, governance, sustainability and technology. In addition, I support the United Nations Charter & Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As someone who is involved in strategizing for the future, I have two solid beliefs:
The world we want tomorrow is based on our current behavior - we must always consider the consequences of our actions.
A good meal is important for the development of a child. We provide meals for the kids and help them making healthy choices.