Drowning is leading cause of death among children in the South East Asian nation. Hundreds of children in northern Vietnam are learning about water safety and how to swim thanks to a Caritas program.
Caritas in Hai Phong Diocese has been offering free swimming courses to some 200 children during July.
Mary Nguyen Thi Lien, a Caritas worker, said 10 professional coaches from Hue Help, a non-profit organization, have been conducting the lessons.
Lien said the courses, “aim to offer children swimming technique to prevent drowning, a leading cause of death among children in the country.”
Vietnam recorded 2,800 children drowning each year in the period between 2010-2015. Most of victims were 5-14 years of age and drowned in rivers or ponds.
More locally, Lien said two children aged 6 and 9 and from the same family drowned in a pond in Hai Duong province earlier this month.
Father John Baptist Vu Van Kien, head of the local Caritas branch, said that 100 children learned swimming skills at An Toan Parish in Hai Phong City on July 14.
Last year 350 children attended swimming courses in Hai Phong Diocese.
Only 30 out of the country’s 63 central cities and provinces have government-funded drowning prevention programs for children due to a lack of funds.