Marseillais lend money to disadvantaged young people to learn to swim


The people of Marseilles lend their private swimming pools free of charge so that disadvantaged local young people can learn to swim and increase their employability.

The premise of the Une Piscine Un Job project is simple: residents whose homes have swimming pools lend them for swimming lessons, led by qualified instructors, where disadvantaged young people can learn to swim or prepare for lifeguard diplomas.

The idea was born in the swimming pool of the entrepreneur Christopher Barolotto and has materialized with the support of various Marseille organizations including Youth Impact, The Factory of Us and Marseille Solutions.

In Marseille, 40 to 50% of students entering CM2 (10-11 years old) cannot swim, according to a study conducted by the city.

The figure is worse in “priority” schools with a high percentage of low-income students: “75% of young people entering sixth grade [aged 11-12] in REP + schools do not know how to swim ”, Nathalie Gatellier-Vignalou, responsible for Youth Impact Program, Recount Made in Marseille.

However, the inability to swim is more than just an embarrassment. It limits youth leisure activities, many of which are centered on water sports in Marseille, and employment opportunities, completely eliminating entire areas of work.

The One Pool One Job project aims to counter this. To be eligible, participants must be at least 16 years of age and reside in designated socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods called priority neighborhoods.

The project was launched this summer and, to date, 20 young people have benefited from it, five of whom have already completed lifeguard training. Four private pools were used.

Youth ImpactCommunications officer Mohamed Mahdani said the program also breaks down social prejudices: “There are a lot of preconceptions that people have, but the program allows young people and professionals to exchange opinions and see each other’s point of view.

While the project has started on a small scale, the goal for next year is to secure 15 swimming pools and help 75 young people learn to swim or obtain lifeguard diplomas.

Mr. Mehdeni said that there is also currently “a partnership being established with [real estate developer] Constructa which will welcome young people a little more frequently.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in France among people under 25, according to Public Health France.

The low bathing rate in Marseille may come as a surprise given the city’s 57 km of coastline. However, this may be due to the shortage of public swimming pools or their frequent closure.

The deputy mayor of the city in charge of sports, Sébastien Jibrayel, told Made in Marseille: “The Ministry of Sports recommends between 15 and 20m² of swimming pool for 1000 inhabitants, we are in a city where we are 6m² for 1000 inhabitants and in the north quarters 4m² per 1000 inhabitants. “

It seems that the question is gaining more and more attention, since Marseille has hosted in recent months various actions aimed at teaching children to swim, such as I am learning to swim (for 4-12 years old) and A step towards the sea (for 6-14 years old).

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