In 2011 KAZIRA Project started swimming program for the children and all people of Lake Bunyonyi. The vast majority of people cannot swim, despite the huge part that the lake plays in their lives. Sadly, the lake claims many lives each year – children and adults. Some lives are lost due to canoeing accidents in bad weather, but many are children who fall accidentally into the lake, often while collecting water. In most places the ground slopes very steeply into the lake. Just one meter out from the shore the water can be several meters deep.
Lake Bunyonyi means a (“Place of many little birds”) lies in south western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale close to the border with Rwanda. Located at 1,962 m above sea level, it is about 25 km long and 7 km wide. The depth of the lake is rumored to vary between 44 m and 900 m, which if true would make the lake the second deepest in Africa.It is one of the few lakes in the region that is rumored to be free of bilharzia and safe for swimming, however, this claim is not verifiable and patrons of the lake have tested positive as recently as 2012. The lake appears on the 5,000 Ugandan shilling notes under the title “Lake Bunyonyi and terraces”.
Towns on its shores include Kyevu and Muko while its 29 islands include Punishment Island and Bushara Island. It is a popular location for waterspots and is known for the surrounding terraced hillsides. It is popular with both foreign and domestic tourists and there is a wide variety of tourist accommodation.
The program currently is hiring one man, a local teacher, to teach swimming lessons to children at two landing sites at Lake Bunyonyi. It will be expanded in the future time when we shall be training more volunteers, all local teachers, representing other different sites, to teach swimming lessons to children in the community. Swimming lessons are now being offered in these sites.
This is a big step forward for this program, but there remain several thousands around the lake with no means of overcoming their fear of the lake and learning to swim.
NB: We lack swimming materials, motorboat for transport as children use dugout canoes to cross the lake to the project which is very risky. We also lack salary for swimming teachers.
Please help the project to send swimming materials.