My name is Edwin Vermetten. I am a huge supporter of Tariq and Xiomara Getrouw, the founders of Swim For Life International. I have been on an incredible journey to meet them and learn about their inspiring organization. I hope that through my story, others will be inspired by Swim for Life International, as well.
Tariq Getrouw and Xiomara Getrouw at the United Nations
Ambassador Molapi Sebatane (on the left) is located at the embassy in Washington representing Lesotho.
Because of ambassador Molapi Sebatane and counselor, Lebo Masiu, we were able to get a visa and enter the country.
Xiomara Getrouw is an athlete who was born in 1994. She’s a young and upcoming talent in sports. Currently her main focus is on swimming, but she is also very good at running marathons and cycling. Xiomara is a born triathlete. She’s been into sports since age 4. She was inspired by her mother who also was an athlete.
Since the start of her career Xiomara has done many impressive things. She won a lot of prices and awards, has many records in her name and her strength is still increasing. Xiomara studied languages at AlphaMax Academy. This is an international private school based in Suriname, a country in South America. After she graduated from AlphaMax Academy she moved to the United States where she’s continuing her study.
We are a brother/sister team born in a developing country where poverty was visible all over the nation. We come from a family of five and we have been fortunate that our parents invested all of what they had into our education and sports. We have learned that education and sports are two opportunities that will make a difference in a life. Now that we have grown older, we want to help influence and support children and young adolescents who are in need. This would allow us to give back the same opportunities we were given.
As that desire has grown in our hearts, we want to make a difference in our world. We believe that by focusing and directly communicating to the unfortunate children, we are making an impact in their lives.
My name is Dakota Getrouw. I am the Public Relations Specialist for Swim for Life International, as well as wife of Tariq Getrouw. I have a B.A. in Anthrozoology from Carroll College in Montana, USA, and I am very passionate about helping people.
I was introduced to Swim For Life Int’l (SFLI) when I first met Tariq in 2016. That was the year Xiomara and Tariq took their first trip to Lesotho and taught over 100 local kids to swim. In 2017 I took a separate trip to South Africa, and absolutely fell in love with the region. I got to visit a few different villages and surprised myself with how much I connected with the people living there.
When Tariq, Xiomara, and I shared our photos and stories, we all recognized the same passion to help the same people. It only made sense that I was marrying into such a giving family. Now I handle public relations for SFLI, as well as organize various elements of our trips, camps, and programs.
Inspiring kids has been a priority of mine since I was a kid myself. When I was 12 years old I published a novel called Flash of Freedom. After its publication I went on a nation-wide speaking tour, inspiring thousands of kids and adults to live their dreams at any age. The deeper mission of Swim for Life Int’l fits right in.
At SFLI, we want to teach kids to swim to prevent drowning. But even more than that, we want to provide hope, and the opportunities to fuel that hope. When I was a young teen, I knew that I was a very motivated person to write and publish a book. But I also recognized that I had enough opportunities to make that happen. Places like Lesotho have the motivated youth yet need access to opportunities. We have started making an impact in the community through our swimming programs but want to expand into education and providing jobs as well.
Our mission is big, but we have faith that with hard work and the right people, we can make anything happen. Thanks for supporting our mission.