Sodwana School Sea Safari
John was so excited to look underwater for the first time that he forgot to put his mask on! John is a Grade 7 learner from Qongwana Primary School and he participated in our Sodwana School Sea Safari programme where he learnt about the importance of protecting the ocean and was able to experience the world beneath the waves for the first time.
The first ever I AM WATER Sodwana School Sea Safari was a huge success! As a world famous diving location, Sodwana on South Africa’s east coast, is a very significant place for I AM WATER. While people come from all over the world to experience Sodwana's pristine beaches, coral reefs and marine life, the majority of the local community have never had the opportunity to learn about and experience the ocean firsthand. Connecting local children to their own ocean heritage through programmes like the Sodwana School Sea Safari, we are starting to change that!
Thanks to a very kind donation from the Dubai British School and working together with Wildlife and Ecological Investments as well as extremely helpful volunteers, we ran three two day Ocean Education and Experience workshops for over 40 Grade 7 learners from Qongwana Primary School.
Each workshop consisted of an ocean education presentation, fun stretches and games, an ocean themed sand building competition and, of course, learning how to use a mask and snorkel to be able to safely explore the underwater world in tidal rock pools.
We were fortunate to have many volunteers assisting us and Mary Basson from Ezemvelo KZN wildlife treated the children to a very informative presentation about the importance of protecting the Sodwana turtle population and she also kindly assisted with ensuring that we had enough sets of snorkels and masks for both the children and the volunteers.
As with all of our Outreach Programmes, we can see the children's passion for and understanding of the ocean grow the longer they are able to spend in the water. There is no doubt that it is a very powerful transformative experience for the children and it is also very encouraging to see more previously disadvantaged South Africans working in Sodwana as Scuba Instructors, Skippers and Dive Masters.
The hope is that the children that we inspire through our programmes will one day grow up to be ocean conservation ambassadors.