Over 350,000 people live 4 feet above sea level in the island republic of Maldives, yet most never learned to swim! “Sink or Swim: Learning to Crawl in the Maldives” documents Soneva Fushi’s Learn-to-Swim camp for 3rd graders and their mothers. Discover the complex and fascinating interplay between people, their culture, and their ocean environment.
The goal was to get moms and kids more confident in the water, in part as a means to impress upon them the importance of taking better care of the beautiful ocean that surrounds them.
At the end of the two weeks, the 48 third-graders and 18 burka-clad mothers who had come each day for lessons put on masks, fins and snorkels and, for many of them, were for a first time able to see the water world below the surface.
One of the participants, 9-year-old Ida, was thrilled to snorkel for the first time: “The coral was beautiful and the fish were gorgeous. It made me happy. We want to go again!”
Like many corners of Planet Ocean the Maldives suffer from a variety of ills, mostly manmade: Overfishing. Plastic pollution. Rising sea levels due to a warming ocean. And acidification. Teaching these incredible families to swim was hopefully a first step towards encouraging them to be even better guardians.
This year 60 children from the islands of Eydafhushi and Maalhos in Baa Atoll were thought how to swim along with 8 adults from the same islands that were trained to become swimming instructors.
Watch trailer here: