Saturday 16 January 2021

Swimming lessons urged for refugees after Syrian youth drowns

The Dutch swimming association has called for the introduction of swimming lessons for refugees, following the death of a 16-year-old Syrian boy on Monday.

The youth drowned at a swimming pool in Venlo and according to local broadcaster 1Limburg, he had been repeatedly warned by pool staff to get out of the water.

Broadcaster NOS interviewed Alice Schols of the KNZB about the issue and she said it is ‘really important’ that refugees are given good information about the importance of learning to swim.

‘Almost everyone in the Netherlands can swim and when the weather is good, that is what we do. So it looks very easy to refugees and they think “oh I can do that too”,’ Schols said.

While some projects have been already set up, more still needs to be done, she said. ‘The Netherlands revolves around water and that is different for many other cultures,’ she told NOS.

Two years ago a nine-year-old girl from Syria drowned during school swimming lessons. Three pool workers were recently given community service sentences in connection with her death.

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