OUR HISTORY &
Bev Christmass - Cofounder & Director
In January 2012 I had the honour of leading a team of dedicated teachers from the Beatty Park Swim School on a volunteer trip to Vietnam in an endeavour to educate children in water safety in the Mekong Delta region. This was the start of our AWSOM journey. The AWSOM Project has come a long way since this first visit to Vietnam.
The original team members took on a challenge and faced it with passion, enthusiasm and a great sense of humour. During our time in Vietnam we quickly realised that our work was only just beginning. We needed to find a way to ensure what we were doing was sustainable. The My Tho City People's Committee requested that we return to Vietnam on an annual basis to run our water safety clinics. We immediately agreed to this proposal; however we also needed to ensure that more was being done.
When we returned to Australia we established ourselves as the AWSOM Project and focused on sustainability. We became a registered charity and began to make some long term goals. We had our teaching methods translated into Vietnamese. This document has now been adopted by the Tien Giang region as the preferred method of teaching.
We also established an annual study scholarship program for teachers from the My Tho City Cultural and Sports Centre to come to Australia for professional development and training.
Our drowning prevention clinics in Vietnam now include orphaned, disadvantaged and disabled children. Each year the team also provides workshops and training for the My Tho City teachers and train new teachers.
In 2016 we launched our Child Disability Scholarship Program. Children with disability are provided with year-round lessons at the My Tho Swimming Pool. This program is funded by Australian sponsors.
Our future goals remain committed to reducing the number of drownings in Vietnam and to raise awareness of this leading killer. Sustainability and education will drive our future direction as we strive to keep children safer in and around water.