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Eight young Muslim men are the latest to graduate from Surf Life Saving’s ground-breaking, culturally sensitive lifesaver training program, earning their Bronze Medallions and becoming fully fledged volunteer lifesavers at Wanda Surf Life Saving Club.

It is the second Surf Lifesaver assessment in collaboration with Swim Brothers – a group founded by Omar Mahmoud and Feroz Sattar after a group of men from Revesby ASWJ Mosque almost drowned in a rip at a remote beach and were saved by off-duty surf lifesavers.

Swim Brothers began as a learn to swim program providing men from diverse communities with culturally-appropriate learn to swim training – both in the pool and in the surf.

People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities are significantly overrepresented in coastal drowning statistics, with this Sunday’s graduation of a second group of new lifesavers, adding to a group of eight who graduated in July 2022 and are now patrolling on Sutherland beaches.

Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib, who presented the new lifesavers with their patrol uniforms, said the partnership that has been forged between SLSNSW and the Swim Brothers has delivered profound results.

“As we know, young men from non-English speaking communities are statistically highly represented in coastal drowning fatalities, and through this program, key lifesaving water safety messaging and information can now be relayed by these young volunteer lifesavers back into their communities,” he said.

“These young men now become volunteers in what is one of Australia’s most iconic organisations. I want to acknowledge that through programs like this SLSNSW is demonstrating it is an inclusive organisation, with a role for everyone to help save lives, no matter what your background. I encourage women and men to join and learn important life-saving skills whilst also giving back to the community.”

“We’re very proud of our partnership with Swim Brothers – one which has so many benefits for Surf Life Saving and the community more broadly,” SLSNSW CEO, Steve Pearce added.

“It’s a manifestation of SLSNSW’s desire to deliver programs and support to both Swim Brothers participants and the wider community around beach and water safety, which is at the core of our mission as an organisation.

“If we can save even one life through this program, then that is something very valuable.”

Monday 14 August 2023