Sport & Health
Swimming is an inspiring, liberating and therapeutic experience for people with disabilities. We want to give that gift to hundreds of disadvantaged children.
We are raising money to build a specially-designed pool which will be used by young people with a range of disabilities - children who were born into a society where their condition makes them outcasts.
However, our project goes much further than teaching children how to swim. It is about breaking down barriers between the disabled and the able-bodied, uniting communities in health, sport and spirit.
The new pool would be built at the largest boarding school for disabled children in India - SKSN. It would be the first facility of this kind in Rajasthan, the largest state in the country.
SKSN cares for more than 500 boys and girls from the age of five to 25. The school not only educates the pupils, but also feeds, clothes and nurtures them. Most of all it gives them hope for a brighter future.
Outside the school gates, these children are excluded from their communities. They are from impoverished families and are at the very bottom of the caste ladder.
Imagine how these young people would feel relieved of gravity for the first time.
They would be able to move freely in the water, building their strength and fitness. The therapy would have enormous psychological benefits, as well as physical ones.
Who knows - we may even be setting some youngsters on their first strokes towards Paralympic glory. Anything is possible.
Australia’s greatest Olympian, Dawn Fraser, who was awarded the title “World Athlete of the Century” in 1999, is a member of the Laureus Academy, which supports SKSN’s sports programme.
She met some of the pupils in 2005 and saw the serious physical challenges they live with. She knew immediately that a swimming pool would bring enormous benefits. Dawn began swimming for her own health and knows the huge effect it can have.
The benefits of this important pool are intended not just for SKSN's student population, but for others across the region. Like SKSN's IMAGE program, the pool is also about breaking down barriers between marginalised and mainstream communities, and bringing people together in health, sport and spirit.
India's youth need to learn to swim. Disabled people are particularly vulnerable and Rajasthan, although a desert state, loses hundreds of people to drowning each year in wells and irrigation channels. Drowning figures in India are startling: information that we've seen suggests annual drowning deaths in the vicinity of 68,000 people.
Knowing how to swim and understanding water safety, saves lives.
Emergency Architects Australia (EAA)
Conybeare Morrison (CM+)
Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW)
Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP)
Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), Team Catalyst
Swim Australia & the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ACSTA)