Swimming girl - Chennai © Elisabeth Kasbauer

One of the youngest participants in the Anna Swimming Pool in Chennai.

Swimming group Chennai © Elisabeth Kasbauer

India - Women swimming into the Future!

A Women Empowerment Project in the South Indian Tsunami region.

This pilot program to give girls and women swimming lessons, in cooperation with the Sports Division of the Austrian Federal Chancellery, was a great success.

From February 2nd to the 8th of 2006 Women without Borders in cooperation with the Austrian Swimming Association, the Austrian Youth Red Cross and the Austrian Life Saving Association organised a swimming training for girls and young women in Youth India.  In a period of 7 days a total of 53 girls from 6 to 14 years old and 14 future trainers in Chennai as well as 22 women in the coastal village Mamallapuram had the chance to be professionally trained to swim. The result was overwhelming: more than two thirds of the girls and women where able to swim the whole length of a swimming pool after the training course!

A study by the renowned British aid organisation, OXFAM by the end of March 2005 had proven that the Tsunami wave took the life of four times as many women than men. “In some villages it seems that up to 80% of the death toll consisted of women”, said Oxfam Director Becky Buell. In the coastal regions women and children often remain at home and are not expected to know how to swim or even go into the water. An equally critical reason is the physical constitution of women. Due to the absence of sporting activities for women in many of the affected areas, women lack strength and confidence. In the Tsunami many were not able to swim or were not capable of climbing on to the roofs, up trees or to any other safe areas.

To know how to swim is not only an important skill for the future life of girls and women, but is an emportant tool for empowerment and strengthens group identity and solidarity – “Swim, enjoy and win!”…..

Click here to read more about this project.

The 1st Women without Borders film "Different Strokes!" which covers not only this project, but also the other two WwB projects in the south Indian Tsunami-hit region, can be ordered at"> (price on inquiry).


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