As we reflect on our recent visit to North Bali, two powerful stories come to mind, emphasizing the critical importance of water safety and the lifesaving skills we impart.

A Close Call at the Big Pool

In North Bali, a routine swim turned into a harrowing experience for a woman in her 40’s. While swimming at a large 2-meter-deep pool with friends, she found herself exhausted and panicking in the middle of the pool. Her friends’ attempts to help were unsuccessful, leading them to call upon our local coordinator and an instructor for aid.

Luckily for them, our team was on site. However, our skilled instructors, Ade and Ari Budi, faced a challenging rescue. The woman’s panic, much like many drowning victims, made her movements unpredictable, complicating their efforts. Ade and Ari Budi coordinated their approach, with Ade pushing her back and Ari Budi pulling her to safety. Their swift action averted a potential tragedy.

This incident is a stark reminder of how quickly a pleasant swim can turn dangerous, and how essential it is to be educated in water safety and survival swimming and to  have trained individuals ready to respond where people may not be.

A Misguided Rescue Attempt in Rote Island

Our friend Derek, an Australian living in Rote Island with his wife, witnessed a distressing scene following a boat accident in a neighboring village. Bystanders attempted to save a drowning victim by pumping the victim’s legs – a technique mistakenly gleaned from a cartoon.

This incident underscores a widespread lack of awareness about proper drowning first aid and water safety preparedness for much of the developing world. It’s a grave reminder of the dangers of misinformation and lack of aquatic education especially in critical life-and-death situations.

Our Response and Commitment

These stories reinforce Swimdo’s mission: to protect and enrich the lives of children through aquatic education. The lack of professional lifeguards at many public pools in our region, and the evident gaps in basic lifesaving knowledge, highlight the urgent need for our work.

In response to the incident in Rote Island, we’ve gifted a CPR mannequin to the local volunteers. This enables those people that we have trained in CPR to extend their knowledge to the broader community, potentially saving more lives.

At Swimdo, we’re dedicated to reducing the risks associated with water activities and to saving lives. While it’s challenging to quantify the number of lives we’ve saved since our inception, we’re confident that our efforts are making a significant difference. By teaching children and communities how to be safe around water, we’re not just imparting skills – we’re fostering a culture of safety and preparedness that can last for many generations.

As always, we thank you for your continued support because we could not do anything without the trust, belief and generosity of people like you!


Neal From, Executive Director, Swimdo

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