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Children's Water Safety Program: Year in Review

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC)-Kru Payu Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP)

June marks the end of another successful Rotary Year for the CMIRC Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP). Almost 500 4th-grade children in Chiang Mai and Phrao have received 15 hours of water safety and survival swimming instruction! So, it’s time to start thinking about next year’s (our 7th year) program, which begins July 1! We have just submitted our proposal to the CMIRC Service Project Committee (SPC) requesting continued support for the CWSDPP for RY 2021-2022. Here are some of the highlights of that proposal:


The CMIRC CWSDPP has been in operation for six years and it was one of the early efforts at community service in CMIRC. To date, working with our partners Kru Payu Swim, Bronco Kids Sports Club, the Chiang Mai Municipal Schools, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Wattana, the Rotary Club of Patong Beach, the Banya Migrant Learning Centre in Phuket, and the Warm Heart Foundation in Phrao, we have taught survival swimming and water safety to approximately 2,500 4th-grade children.

In addition to CMIRC funds, we have received substantial financial support from the Safe Child Thailand Foundation (SCT) (U.K-based.), 2017 and 2019, the Australian Embassy’s Direct Aid Program (DAP), 2019 and 2021, British Community for the Needy in Thailand (BCTFN), 2019 and 2020, Minnesota-based Rotary Clubs, the Thai Thaim Foundation, and private donors. During 2020-2021 the Grand Monadnock Rotary Club of New Hampshire donated for children’s swim equipment. While the CWSDPP in Chiang Mai and Phrao is fully funded by donors, the CWSDPP still relies on the CMIRC to be the sponsor and coordinator of the CWSDPP in Chiang Mai and Phrao.


Since drowning is the leading cause of death for children (ages 1 to 14) in Thailand, we plan to continue seeking partners both governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as philanthropic organizations to build and fund a network of sustainable survival swimming and water safety programs for 4th-grade students (9 to 10 years old) using the internationally recognized Royal Lifesaving Society curriculum. We hope to teach many children survival swimming, but just as importantly, we hope to become a model for government, school-based programs nationwide.

The service mission of CMIRC is to improve children’s safety, health, and education in Northern Thailand. The CMIRC-Kru Payu Swim Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP) chose to focus on children’s safety and to address one of the leading causes of death for children in Asia: drowning.

The CMIRC CWSDPP is now operating in three locations, Chiang Mai (all 11 municipal schools), Phrao (at 11 local schools) , and the BanYa Burmese Migrant Learning Center in Phuket, and we are cooperating with a program we helped to establish in Phuket Province operated by the Rotary Club of Patong Beach. In 2020, at the request of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Wattana (RCCMW), we added the Wat Suan Dok School to our program with two additional classes for their 4th graders, one funded by RCCMW and one by CMIRC.

Goals for RY 2021-2022

  1. Continue our CWSDPP at all 11 Chiang Mai Municipal Schools and Wat Suan Dok School (11 to 13 classes, depending on the possible combinations of classes for smaller schools).

  2. Continue our Phrao CWSDPP at 11 Phrao elementary schools (7 classes, smaller schools combined).

  3. When possible, continue our program at the Ban Ya Migrant Learning Centre (MLC) in Phuket Province. This program is currently on hold due to delays in Thai governmental permission for MLCs to reopen due to Covid-19 concerns.

  4. Expand to at least one other location through the Rotary Network; there is currently great interest in adopting our program at the Rotary Club Royal Hua Hin (RCRHH).

  5. Add a lice eradication component to all project locations and classes.

Actions Required

  1. Continue building and training a swim instructor training staff here in Chiang Mai.

  2. Maintain current governmental and non-governmental organizational relationships, especially with the Municipal Schools, the Warm Heart Foundation, and Rotary Clubs in Thailand and abroad.

  3. Pursue a continuation of support from the Park Rapids, Minnesota Rotary, the Grand Monadnock Rotary Club, New Hampshire, the Thai Thaim Foundation, and our current large private donors, such as Bob Ashley (funder of Ban Ya MLC), Anonymous (funder of the 2021-2022 Phrao CWSDPP), and Richard Murray (funder of a CWSDPP school).

  4. Apply to reinstate funding from The British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (under the auspices of the British Embassy-Bangkok) for 2022-2023.

That’s the plan for Rotary Year 2021-2022!

Finally, we’d like to thank all the organizations listed below for their continued support, with special thanks this month to The Rotary Club of Grand Monadnock for providing funding for replacement swim equipment needed for this coming year’s programs. Their donation of US$1250 (39,000 Baht) was used to buy equipment for our Phrao and Chiang Mai Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Programs. Here is a list of what we were able to purchase with the money donated for the 4th-graders in our program:

  • 64 Girls Swimsuits

  • 56 Boys Swimsuits

  • 20 Swim caps

  • 36 Goggles

  • 6 Noodle floats

  • 300 Rotary medals for the children who complete the course.

THANK YOU Grand Monadnock Rotary Club!

Now let’s hope that the measures to contain Covid-19 in Thailand are successful and that our 4th-graders in Chiang Mai, Phrao, and Banya Migrant Learning Centre will be back in the water by August!

CMIRC Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Team and Sponsors:


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