MASERU — Lesotho Royal Life saving Association (RLLA) enrolled about 15 high school students in Lifesaving training from 2012 as a result of the rising number of incidents of children drowning while swimming in rivers and unprotected ponds and dams.
The students were awarded Lifesaving certificates and medals by His Majesty King Letsie III on Friday.
RLLA president Colin Mcdonald said the training was introduced because they believed that too many children drown in village dams because swimming is not part of Lesotho’s culture and tradition.
He said drowning was among the key causes of death for minors not only in the country but in the region as a whole.
“Drowning is believed to be the fourth largest cause of premature death after Aids, malaria and road accidents in Africa,” Macdonald said.
The association operates in the districts of Leribe, Berea, Maseru, Quthing and Mohale’s Hoek and the graduating students were from Abia High School, Moshoeshoe II High School, Honorat Labrecque, St Agnes High, Masitise and Moyeni High school.
Macdonald said while it might be true that most people have the compassion to want to save their drowning friends and relatives, most of the time they dumbfounded by the drowning accidents when they happen because they are powerless.
He therefore urged more young people to acquire skills in order to be best placed to help in times of need.
The skills provided by RLLA, Macdonald said, sharpen a person for the future.
Meanwhile on behalf of the donors, Maseru Toyota Managing Director, Elijah Ledimo, said it was sad that most Basotho youth are reluctant to participate in international swimming competitions “while there are avenues such as this one to improve their skills”.
“Let’s help these kids become better people and ensure that resources are availed by building swimming pools in all the ten districts of Lesotho in order to see the growth of water sports in this country,” Ledimo said.
On behalf of the graduates, Motlatsi Motebang thanked the donors and organisers of the programme because “we in a position to rescue anyone we encounter who may be drowning”.
The RLLA was founded in 2004. In 2011 it was affiliated to the Commonwealth and permitted to issue its own awards.
Since 2011 the association has issued 245 certificates from basic to intermediate lifesaving skills.
The event was graced by the King and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malebitso Ralebitso who attended on behalf of Sports Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane.