On the 29th of January 2018 I will be the first British person to attempt to swim the Bangla Channel in the Bay of Bengal, a 16km (10 mile) sea route from Teknaf to the Saint Martin’s Island, in southern Bangladesh.
I am doing this swim to raise awareness of the huge issue of drowning in the country. Around 50 children a day die in the water in Bangladesh and drowning is the leading cause of death among children aged 1-17 years old.
In the UK there are around 15 child deaths (ages 0 to 14) a year from drowning.
Being flood prone, up to 68% of Bangladesh can be under water during a heavy monsoon season. Many drownings occur inland, where water is in abundance. Most rural homes have an adjacent pond which is used for bathing and fishing. But, unprotected, these natural water bodies are a death trap for young children. Likewise, people living on the coast have to navigate the dangers of the ocean as they go about their daily lives and earn a living.
By doing my swim I hope to raise as much money as possible for the CIPRB (Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh)
which has set up swim schemes in the country to help keep children safe around water. The RNLI has been working in conjunction with the CIPRB to develop the SwimSafe scheme and also give guidance and training for lifeguards in coastal areas. They have provided me with ball park figures as to where any money raised will go:Price point examples:Teaching a kid how to swim - £21Delivering a water safety lesson to a classroom of 30 children – approximately £30Training a lifeguard - £16Employing one lifeguard for a month - £233Employing one lifeguard for a year – £2,800Running a lifeguarding service on one beach/year – approximately £25,000Purchasing and installing a portable pool £5,000 plus £3,000 installation cost
And here is a more detailed outline of the SwimSafe scheme:http://www.ciprb.org/who-we-are/field-laboratory/community-services/swimsafe/
I was fortunate enough to visit Sreepur Village
in Bangladesh in July 2017 and help with a SwimSafe scheme there. The village is run by a British charity and is a refuge for mothers and their children who need help getting back on their feet https://www.sreepurvillage.org/
Over 12 or so lessons children learn how to swim 25 metres, tread water or float for 30 seconds and perform a dry land rescue.
The CIPRB also took me to a swim school set up in central Dhaka, a place were there are few pools for children to learn in.
As the CIPRB is a non British organisation I cannot raise through the usual justgiving pages. However I will ensure that any money raised on GoFundMe will be sent to Bangladesh in the most cost efficient way possible.
I know nowadays there are always so many requests for sponsorship, but I am truly grateful for any donations, however small. If the money raised saves even one life then doing the swim and all my training will be worth it.