Monday 18 July 2005
From: Claire de Boursac
Received by: Email.
What is Happening Now
The girls and women whom Chris taught to swim are continuing their training and building up their strength and experience ready for Christina’s next phase: to turn them all into qualified swimming teachers.
In addition, Chris has personally sponsored a Swimming Training Scholarship for her most promising female swimming student and interpreter, Miss Inki Abeyratna, to undertake a British Amateur Swimming Association Swimming Teachers Course in the UK.
When Inki Abeyratna graduates from her British Swimming Teacher’s Course, she will return to Sri Lanka in early September and immediately pass on her knowledge to the ladies of Weligama and commence training a new, larger intake of female swimmers. In parallel, assisted by a number of international swimming organisations, Christina will take as many of the first group of Sri Lankans female swimmers forward, to train them as swimming instructors.
Next Step: Launching the Women’s Swimming Association of Sri Lanka
The key to success is to conduct long term swimming training specifically for women in Sri Lanka. There is a need to ensure training standards are recognised internationally as well as nationally and that women’s swimming interests need to be represented in any public swimming pools being built with other tsunami-related charitable funds. To this end, funds are being sought to found a Women’s Swimming Association. This project aims to make such an organisation 100% Sri Lankan and completely self-sustaining locally within two years, provided that parallel projects to build large public swimming pools across the Nation come to fruition within the same timescale. By securing a formal National focal point for qualified Sri Lankan women swimming teachers, the status and value of the contribution that women would make to the well-being of the whole Sri Lankan Nation in sport, health and education would be enhanced.
Long Term Benefits
The key to successfully making learning to swim a right for Sri Lankan women lies in having sufficient female swimming instructors to teach the female half of the Nation to swim. Not only would such a goal improve women’s social status, self-esteem, overall fitness and health, the skill would also reinforce internal family ties as mothers teach their own children, especially the girls, to swim. Following this, families as a whole would then be able to enjoy safely the vast beaches which make up much of Sri Lanka’s coastline and are currently really only used by a relatively small number of foreign tourists. Finally, there would be micro-economic benefits as qualified Sri Lankan women swimming teachers take up the opportunity to run their own classes for visiting tourists at local hotel swimming pools.