Master Le Chi Hung is currently Deputy Head of the Department of Water Sports within Danang University of Physical Education and Sports in Vietnam. He has been teaching physical education for 24 years. Since 2018, he has worked on the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s drowning prevention program in Vietnam, providing survival swimming classes and water safety education for children, parents and teachers.

What has led you to your current career path and your participation in the child drowning prevention program in Vietnam?

I was born and raised in a poor area, considered the "flood navel" of Quang Tri Province. Since childhood, I have witnessed many unfortunate drowning accidents when the flood season came. In the summer, children often go to rivers, streams and other open water areas to play, causing the drowning rate to increase significantly. That actuality has prompted me to find a solution to not only help unfortunate families in my hometown, but also contribute to solving the drowning burden across the country. After graduating and becoming a lecturer, I had the opportunity to study more deeply with the aim of finding better solutions for my ultimate goal: drowning prevention.

What are your greatest achievements as well as your unforgettable memories in your work with the program?

I started my work in remote, poor rural areas where there is fewer children have access to learn survival swimming and water safety skills. On this journey, what I am most proud of is that I have become an inspiration to students who share the same passion for drowning prevention in many provinces and remote areas. Wherever our program goes, there is always enthusiastic support from former students.

I still remember that my colleagues and I went to a trip for a promotional session on drowning prevention in the northern mountainous areas. Unlike other sessions, it took place in the cold winter of the highlands, followed by a gifting ceremony for the families with difficult circumstances. We were so surprised that not only very young students, but also elderly ethnic minorities joined our event. After the event, we all felt very pleased and wished to have more meaningful activities like this in the future.

What message do you want to send to colleagues working in drowning prevention in Vietnam and around the world?

Drowning prevention is the responsibility of the whole society and should be implemented with coordinated solutions. As professionals and pioneers, each of our actions contribute to building a community where drowning doesn't happen.

In addition, each family needs to be fully equipped with knowledge to prevent drowning and always closely monitor their children's safety in the water environment. All children need to learn how to swim early and properly. Together, we can protect children’s lives.

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