Nearly 400 multicultural school students from Melbourne's South Eastern Suburbs will take part in practical water safety education sessions at Bonbeach and Edithvale Life Saving Clubs over the next two weeks.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) students from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa will participate in six separate Multicultural Beach days as part of the Building Capacity and Developing Social Inclusion For CaLD Youth project funded by nib foundation.
The aquatic skills and education program is targeted at CaLD youth in the Cities of Brimbank and Greater Dandenong, and aims to educate over 1,600 from these highly diverse Local Government Areas about vital water safety information.
In the 2015/16 financial year, 280 people drowned in Australia, many of whom were from CaLD backgrounds.
Life Saving Victoria's Manager for Multicultural Projects, David Holland said that it was important all new arrivals to Victoria had access to basic water safety information.
"For many of these students, this is their first ever experience of an Australian beach. They may come from countries where water safety is not a priority, and are therefore not aware of things like rips, or how to attract attention in an emergency." Mr Holland said.
nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe said the program aims to reduce the number of water incidents and fatalities within CaLD communities by encouraging participation and raising water safety knowledge.
"Through education and practical skill building we are ensuring that CALD youth and their families are equipped with the right information to make safer decisions while enjoying Victoria’s beaches and waterways," Ms Tribe said.
"The program will also help develop positive relationships between CaLD community members and local aquatic recreation facilities which will deliver ongoing benefits for the wider CaLD community through the encouragement of social inclusion," she added.
For more information about the program visit www.lsv.com.au.