Princess honours her passion for water by saving lives
Princess Charlene of Monaco became Patron of Lifesaving South Africa (LSA), presided by Dylan Tommy, during their event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Umhlanga, Durban on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, highlighting her relentless mission to put an end to drowning. This was the launch ceremony for the handover of the Malibu surf boards to the various representatives from Lifesaving clubs, and Gareth Wittstock represented his sister at the ceremony.
“It is a great honor for me to be named Patron of Lifesaving South Africa, an organization that shares the same vision as my Foundation and one that I have always been inspired by. Lifesaving South Africa’s commitment to drowning prevention is remarkable and the spirit of volunteering that you are instilling in our young people is infectious,” said H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco.
The Princess has a true passion for water dedicating 20 years of her life to become an Olympic swimmer, representing South Africa in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. “During those years, I learnt the importance of discipline, team spirit, dedication and respect for the water, oneself and others; values that I know LSA lifeguards appreciate and demonstrate every day,” continued the Princess.
Strong partnerships Made-in-Water
To give back to the sport that brought her so much satisfaction the Princess created the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation in 2012, and has already reached over 300,000 people worldwide, and counting. The work of the Foundation is internationally acknowledged and celebrated for raising public awareness about the dangers of water, teaching children essential water safety skills and how to swim.
The Foundation extended the operations from Monaco to South Africa in 2013, and In 2016 the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA taught 2,507 children to swim and 27,242 children essential water safety skills through 23 projects in that country.
Since 1913 LSA, the national association for lifesaving and lifesaving sport, has saved over 120 000 people from drowning, leading the fight against drowning in South Africa, with over 3500 volunteer lifeguards patrolling various aquatic venues on weekends and public holidays.
In 2016 LSA launched the Watersmart program, a classroom based educational water safety program developed to complement the current Grade 4 Life Skills curriculum, primarily aimed at young children, and is active in 20 schools, with students coming from previously disadvantaged communities. The roll out schedule, thanks to General Tire’s financial investment, will allow free courses in 80 primary schools nationwide in 2017, with a projected reach of 12,000 young children.
The partnership between the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA and Lifesaving South Africa (LSA) strengthens the promotion of water safety and support ‘learn to swim’ projects in that country.
Gavin Varejes, President of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, also announced the distribution of 200 rescue boards to LSA, with support from Cell C and Richmark Holdings, enabling LSA-affiliated lifesaving clubs in South Africa to continue their critical service to the community. Varejes, known for his generosity and support of the SA Surfing Legends and President of SA Rugby Legends, said: “the new partnership will hopefully continue to encourage different sporting codes to work together and form the bonds, strengths and partnerships that make such a wonderful difference in our Country.”
Photos credit: Howard Cleland
“Cell C endorses this initiative in growing an awareness around water safety in South Africa and deems it a great privilege to be associated with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA”, said Doug Mattheus, Head of Marketing at Cell C.
Dylan Tommy, President of LSA, and Gideon Sam, President of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), both expressed gratitude to Princess Charlene and Varejes for their contribution to raising the profile of LSA, both on a social level and as a sport. Dylan Tommy said: “We are extremely grateful to HSH Princess Charlene for agreeing to serve as the Patron for Lifesaving South Africa. With the Princess as our Patron and the partnership we have established with The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, we will be able to achieve far greater success in our fight against drowning in South Africa”.
In 2017, Continental Tyre SA, through its General Tire brand, committed to a three-year investment and sponsorship of LSA, and its Product Communications Manager Ryan Visagie applauded the contributions of Varejes and corporate heavyweights Richmark and Cell C.
“It sends a great message to Corporate South Africa to get involved with saving lives. You can’t put a price on saving a life and it’s fantastic to see the investment in Lifesaving as a result of the partnership with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA,” said Ryan Visagie, Continental Tyre SA.
SASCOC president Gideon Sam said: “It was noted that the Princess gives so much to the country she grew up in, but also so importantly to the serious issue of water safety and water education.” He described her as “an inspiration to the global community and a particularly special South African.”
“Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a life.” Safe Kids Worldwide