We are pleased to announce that in 2022, Swimdo reached our goal to teach 1,500 students across Bali and some on the Island of Sumba. This year we will open more classes in Singaraja (North Bali) and Badung (the second largest regency in Bali). With these new schools, we hope to twice the number of students from this year.
In this newsletter I will share my experience of travelling with our Swimdo team to north Bali, visiting the Swimdo school in Gerokgak district and meeting new instructors for Swimdo’s second class in Singaraja.
In December of last year, our local coordinator in Singaraja informed us that we finally identified all four of the new instructors for our new class in the Seririt District. We met and conducted an extensive training program with the first two Instructors, Ari and Kadek in November. Myself, Agis (volunteer coordinator) and Agung Pandit (our local finance minister) decided to go visit the school in early December. After an hour drive, we stopped at a small shop selling a traditional food called lawar, a interesting type of veggies mixed with boiled duck meat. After breakfast, we continued the drive for another 100 km straight to the pool in Sanggalangit village, in the Gerokgak district. We decided to take a short cut through Munduk district, where we passed Sangeh Temple and monkey sanctuary. This area is lush with expansive rice fields, the famous Beratan lake and highlands of Bedugul. The Munduk hills are thick with jungle and coffee plantations. Usually, we will stop for a coffee in this area, but the duck we had eaten for breakfast seemed to keep Pandit awake during the drive. The drive to Gerokgak is our favourite, despite it being 4 hours long, we really enjoy the views all the way from Gianyar to Gerokgak. Upon arriving in the Gerokgak district we saw many fruit plantations all over the area. There were grapes, mango, dragon fruits and many other gorgeous tropical fruits.
We reached the pool around 2pm. When we got there, there were already students there who had previously graduated from our Swim to Survive program and were excited for Friday free swim. Like many of our Swimdo students, these students arrived an hour early at the pool because they are so excited to get in the water and practice their skills. Some of them even brought their family with them to the pool to show off their survival backstroke and floating abilities. Ari Budi, the coordinator for Swimdo’s new class, introduced us to Oming and Widia, the two new female instructor candidates. During our introduction, I explained to them Swimdo’s history, our organization’s mission, and introduced them to our team. We were happy to learn that both Oming and Widya come from the village nearby the pool in Seririt. Both women are excited to join our team. The other two instructors, Kadek Tri is a PE teacher at junior high school and a private swimming teacher during the weekends, while Ari Budi is pursuing a bachelor degree in Biology. After they complete an instructor certification course, the new instructors will be ready to start our second class of Swimdo in Singaraja with the help of Sani.
Agis, one of our core instructors and volunteer coordinators, gave the new instructors a CPR training, and showed them how to teach safe save techniques to the children. At 5pm, we wrapped up the initial training and began our long journey home. Over the next few days we will be back to conduct more trainings to ensure the new instructors are ready to begin teaching. On the way home, we stopped at the Puncak (the top of the hills before Bedugul) to get a quick dinner of pork satay and soup. The place is usually full of monkeys that try to steal whatever snacks you may have, but that night the monkey seemed to be asleep deep in the forest trees. The rest of the drive was quiet and serene.
The future is bright for Swimdo as we continue to open more schools, bring on new instructors and reach more children throughout Indonesia. As we grow in impact and create sustainable industry for young people throughout the country, our need for your support grows too. None of this would be possible without the unyielding generosity of people like you that continue to believe in us and support us in our mission to protect and enrich the lives of children through aquatic education. If you already have donated this year, thank you, if not, your donation is much appreciated and goes a long way towards reducing childhood drowning in Indonesia. Thank you.
-Indira Santi, Swimdo Director, Bali