• Multicultural

Sydney’s Tamarama Beach has a reputation for being one of the most challenging in NSW, but last week it became the scene of new beginnings as some of the state’s newest arrivals visited an Australian beach for the first time.

A group of 70 students from Randwick and Ultimo TAFE undertaking an English language course descended on Tamarama for a workshop on beach and water safety last Thursday.

It was the second such workshop of its type this year, and is viewed as an important step in connecting with migrant communities to help provide an introduction to the beach in a fun and safe environment.

“From a state perspective, it’s so important that we reach out to migrant communities and help them identify the dangers of the ocean. As Australians we sometimes fall into the trap of taking our knowledge of the ocean for granted,” said Community Education Project Officer Joanne Massey.

“From a young age we’re taught to swim between the flags or to raise a hand for help, but that’s not the case elsewhere in the world and our aim is to continue educating everyone to ensure they can enjoy the beach safely.”

The workshop was delivered by surf lifesavers from Tamarama SLSC and encompassed standard safety messages such as swimming between the red and yellow flags, how to signal for help and how to identify rip currents.

Delivered in a fun and innovative way, the program left an impact on the participants.

“We had a meeting and we learned how to save our lives when we get into trouble. It was very safe, swimming between the flags is very important,” said Farnoosh Fariba a migrant from Iran.

Syrian migrant Alan Alnseer said it was a great opportunity to learn about beach safety in a controlled environment.

“It’s the first time we’ve come to the beach here in Australia because we are so new here. It’s about learning about the dangers and all the information. I learned a lot about safe places to swim and not so safe places and letting your group know if you can’t do it,” he said.

The program was such a success due to the fact that Tamarama volunteers so willingly embrace their role, not only as lifesavers but also as ambassadors within their community.

“Tamarama has a vision and mission to be a very inclusive club, and we want our club to be a reflection of the rest of the community. The best way to do that is to extend surf education programs to new migrants,” said club president Tim Murray.

“This is our second migrant education day where we link up with the English language training programs that are offered to migrants, and work closely with TAFE to bring people down here to the club and give them the basics of beach safety.

“It’s really common here at Tama for people to get into trouble, so it’s nice to know that we’re slowly chipping away at new migrant awareness to help them be safe both in the water and on the rocks while fishing.”

There was one final announcement on the day that was warmly received by all who were present.

Tamarama has launched a scholarship of $500 encouraging anyone with swimming skills to come and join the club and train for their Bronze Medallion this season and become a surf lifesaver.

“This scholarship is targeted at those who are strong swimmers and want to become involved in the surf club. We’ve named it after the late Kirsty Bowden, a former member here, who was sadly a victim of the London Bridge terrorist attack.

“We feel as a club there’s no better way to remember her than by giving her name to this scholarship,” said Tim Murray.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

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