Mauritius is a small island nation off the coast of Southeast Africa, just past Madagascar. Surrounded by water and with a population of over 1.2M, water safety is of utmost importance.
Viraj Ramharai, Lifesaving Trainer and WATERWISE Educator, has consistently led the charge against drowning in Mauritius and Rodrigues. Viraj and Mauritius celebrated International Water Safety Day last year by gathering school children on the beach and teaching them 10 Water Safety Rules and practicing lifesaving drills.
Recently, Viraj has implemented the National Sea Rescue Institute‘s WATERWISE program. The WATERWISE program is the NSRI’s educational initiative with a vision to proactively prevent drowning tragedies. Using the acronym PLAN (Prepare, Look, Ask, Never) they gave them the do’s and don’ts of basic water safety education.
One youth leader with one vision trains 25 youth leaders to reduce drowning in their village. After the youth training, they went door-to-door to spread drowning awareness, flood preparedness, and water safety tips. They went to individual homes and shops, introduced themselves, and provided some very helpful water safety information! Over 400 people were reached in their home village of Tamarin including Mr. Rajesh Cooshna, President of Village Council.
Viraj wishes to express a special thanks to Mr. Peter Bacon, the former Chairman of the NSRI, who was critical to the implementation of the WaterWise program in Mauritius. Also, heartfelt gratitude to the Tamarin Youth Centre’s Mr. Steve Gungadeen and Ms. Deepa Boodhoo for helping organize this campaign. Last but not least, many thanks to Mr. Roobun Marimootoo who was a big help in the WaterWise education.