Not only is swimming a fun, social and confidence boosting activity that all children should be comfortable doing (especially when you live next to some of the worlds most beautiful beaches), it is also a necessary skill to ensure safety when living on an island chain that requires using boats for transportation.
We realized that LESS than 1/3rd of the children living in the BVI actually know how to swim (and we are told it might actually be closer to 1 in 10)!
Not only is this unfortunate for recreational and safety purposes, it also removes some of the best job opportunities that the BVI has to offer.
The ocean is the BVI's greatest resource for tourism and our hope is that once local children become comfortable swimming, they can dominate the lucrative fields of becoming boat captains, scuba diving instructors, sailing instructors, paddle boarding guides and surf instructors.
And better yet- if kids can learn from a young age that some of the most fun and lucrative jobs in the BVI come from ocean eco-tourism and preserving their natural resources, they will be less likely to need to exploit their resources for money (such as turtle hunting which is also legal here)!
How do we plan to help?
We are suggesting a $5 donation from every scuba diver that enjoys one of our artificial reef wreck sites that will go directly towards programs that teach local children how to swim. In exchange, each diver gets a fun souvenir sticker!
We hope that this platform will become a global example of how a tourism attraction (such as an awesome sunken pirate ship artificial reef site) can grow to be something far more than just a reef, and generate enough donation revenue that in 10 years every child in the BVI will know how to swim.
And where do we go from there?
We work with local companies to offer sailing, scuba diving, kayaking and paddle boarding courses as school extracurriculars to get children passionate about their ocean and future job opportunities.
...and then we continue this model globally :)
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