In 2015, an estimated 360,000 people worldwide died from drowning, making drowning a major public health problem. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death. Drowning death rates are highest in the WHO African Region. (World Health Organization, 2018)
In 2016, Hand in Hand Executive Director Darlene Haskins began a local education group on Facebook. This group began getting followers from around the globe, and Darlene was contacted by a water safety organization in Africa. They requested she travels there to teach swimming and water safety along with other instructors from the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
In October 2017, thanks to fundraising efforts and generous local donors, Darlene traveled to Uganda to provide the people with life-saving swim and water safety skills. The Ugandan people were eager to learn and many traveled great distances just for the opportunity to be trained. Over the course of two weeks, 121 adults and 309 children were taught CPR and to swim, float, and trust the water - all skills that so many of us here in the U.S. take for granted.
After attempting to stay in contact with trainees in Uganda to build on the skills learned and struggling through the difficulties of inconsistent internet connections and a 7-hour time difference, Hand in Hand established an outreach operation here in the U.S. This program allows selected applicants from Uganda to travel to Kernersville, NC, for further intensive training, including becoming certified in American Red Cross CPR and First Aid, Lifeguarding, and Water Safety Instruction. While in the U.S., trainees assist with local swimming and water safety outreach before returning home to work with Uganda Lifesaving Federation to educate others and prevent drownings in their home country.
In March 2018, the first of these students from Uganda, Jimmy, was able to come to the U.S., and five more are awaiting the opportunity to travel here. If you would like to help sponsor our global outreach efforts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.