Swim, Survive and Socialise program

Local projects / Swim, Survive and Socialise program

The HARDA Swim, Survive and Socialise program is an annual comprehensive swimming and water safety program for children and youth of migrants mainly from the HoA. The 10 day program normally runs for two weeks in January during the school holidays and is held at ASTA in Seven Hills. ASTA was chosen because their Swim and Water Safety program (an initiative developed by Royal Life Saving Australia) encompassed water safety taught by fully trained instructors at a specially built swimming venue at Seven Hills.

The program has been running since 2012 when about 30 children aged 8-12 attended the program. It has been very successful and has expanded and developed over this time. It now caters for over 100 kids and youth aged 6-16 from beginner to advanced. A number of regular participants have now completed either Lifesaving or Swim instructor qualifications through the program.  A swim safety workshop is conducted one day each week for the kids parent or carer where possible.

Program’s aims and objectives

  • To develop an awareness in the participating children and their parents of water safety and water survival techniques
  • To teach these the children how to swim
  • To empower and increase water safety capacity within the communities
  • For the children to have an active, healthy and fun activity in the holidays that builds up a skill set that allows them to participate in water activities without fear and embarrassment thus helping with their integration into the broader Australian community
  • To encourage members of the HoA community to take interest in water safety and swimming


The major funder of this program over the years has been Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club. HARDA and the HoA community is extremely appreciative of their ongoing support and interest in the program

2023 Swim, Survive and Socialise (May 17, 2023) - The 2023 annual Harda Swim and Survive Program provided 108 kids and youth, aged 6-16 years old, with the opportunity to learn water safety and survival techniques, as well as swimming lessons. The program ran from Mon Jan 9th – Fri Jan 20th, the last 2 full weeks of the school holidays, with each child having a daily 45 minute session. It was held, as always, at the royal Lifesaving facility, Aquatic Safety Training Academy (ASTA) in Seven Hills. While the parents were able to socialise with other parents we did run a water safety session for them to increase… Read more
2022 Swim, Survive and Socialise (December 23, 2022) - HARDA ran the 2022 session of our flagship Swim, Survive and Socialise Program (delayed from the January school holidays due to COVID) daily over the two-week Easter 2022 school break. As always, the program was a success and the children and families who attended appreciated and enjoyed the lessons. Over one hundred participants were initially enrolled in the two-week program. Some highlights of this year's session included: ·      The parent safety session, which was very well-received, and attended by the majority of the mothers present on the day. The parents asked a lot of questions and enjoyed doing CPR on… Read more
2022 Swim, Survive and Socialise (February 4, 2022) - Unfortunately the annual Harda Swimming Program for 6-17yo to be held in January 2022 had to be postponed this year due to covid, which was very disappointing for all involved & we apologise to all the kids who were looking forward to it. However we are hoping to run it in the Easter holidays, from Mon April 11th to Fri Apr 22nd.  This will  run on weekdays and be an 8 day program due to the Easter public holidays when it will not operate. Sessions & participants will be the same as advised for the Jan program and will be… Read more
2021 Swim, Survive and Socialise (March 31, 2021) - Over 110 kids and youth from a Horn of Africa or CALD background attended HARDA’s annual Swim, Survive and Socialize program, sponsored by Dooleys Catholic Club. The program was held at ASTA in Seven Hills and catered for all levels from beginner to advanced, with 45 min classes every weekday from Jan 11th – 22nd. While extra precautions because of covid were taken, it didn’t detract from the fun had by all and the great progress everyone made in their swimming & water safety skills. We were v pleased that in this difficult year this was one program that was… Read more
2020 Swim, Survive and Socialise (January 28, 2020) - More than 100 kids aged 6-16 y.o. attended this year to learn water safety and improve their swimming skills or in many cases to learn to swim for the first time. They made great improvements in their swimming abilities and really enjoyed the program, which ran from 13th - 24th of January 2020 at the Aquatic Safety Training Academy in Seven Hills. The most advanced youth undertook a program to work towards their Bronze Medallion, a recognised lifesaving award. 9 students obtained their bronze star, the intermediate step towards their medallion, which we hope they will obtain at the next… Read more
2019 Swim, Survive and Socialise (January 28, 2019) - This year 97 boys and girls, aged 6-15 years old enrolled in the program. They were split across 3 sessions of 45 mins. The program was held, as always, at the Aquatic Safety Training Academy (ASTA) in Seven Hills (our partners in this program) and ran for 10 week days from Jan 14 – Jan 25th, the last 2 weeks of the school holidays. The kids had a great deal of fun, progressed well and received certificates of accomplishment at the end of the program, allowing us to track progress. The program also provided some water safety and CPR sessions… Read more
Advanced Swimming Program (July 5, 2018) - 24 young persons aged between 10-15, 11 girls and 13 boys – representing the South Sudanese and Somali Community, completed the program. The program was designed for those who had obtained the highest rankings at the sessions held by HARDA for several years during January holidays. HARDA’s ambition is to progress the better swimmers into becoming life savers and/or swimming instructors. This would greatly raise the capacity of the communities. The program produced excellent outcomes. 8 youth obtained their bronze medallions, thus qualifying to become life savers when old enough to pass the exams.3 youths obtained their bronze star.The other… Read more
2018 Swim, Survive and Socialise Program (January 2, 2018) - HARDA (Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency of Australia) conducted a ‘Swim, Survive and Socialise’  program in January  2018 . A total of 86 boys and girls enrolled, aged between 6 and 15 years old, larger than any previous swim program done by HARDA. The main idea behind this program is to create a positive social environment for kids to learn vital skills.  New sessions were added  this year especially  water safety education programs for parents. Most of the parents attended. Dummies were used for demonstration purposes and every one had a go. The children greatly benefited from this… Read more