I joined the Kishori Abhijan project in 2007, working as a peer leader. I then received training as a Community Swimming Instructor (CSI) in 2009, and started to train children to swim safely. In the last two years I have taught 105 children to swim safely.
One day I heard about the safe swim programme from the facilitator-apa. She explained that every 30 minutes, two children drown in Bangladesh. The project has been teaching children to swim safely, which should reduce the death rate. This plan touched my heart, and I think that this is the best way to work as social change makers.
Before teaching survival swimming I was just an ordinary girl, but this programme has given me a great deal of confidence. Now I am sharing my knowledge with my neighbours and other young people in my area. As I am working as a CSI and teaching children to swim, they call me Noor-apa, because –apa is a suffix meaning 'teacher'.
I think I have a greater position in my community due to being a swimming teacher, and am in involved in various kinds of social change related to swimming. Just two months ago I saved a child’s life by using the techniques of breathing that I learnt in my training.
My father is a rickshaw puller, and the only earning member of my family. Consequently we are facing difficulties in enrolling and remaining in education. I have received a small amount of remuneration for working as a CSI. This money helps me to cover some of my educational expenses, proving that a girl can be an active member of her family. These activities help me to develop my leadership skills, which helps me to speak up for other girls in my village to make sure their voices are heard.
Being part of International Inspiration has made a huge difference to my life, and it’s great that children and young people around the world are getting access to sport and play opportunities, and are being inspired to choose sport.
I believe that in the near future, we will be able to reduce drowning-related deaths in Bangladesh. I hope that my students will be able to participate in the Olympic Games in the near future, and I aim to give them the spirit to do it. I would like to thank UNICEF UK, UNICEF Bangladesh, the British Council, and CMES with International Inspiration for the opportunities I have been given.
International Inspiration, the international sports legacy programme of the London 2012 Organising Committee, has delivered on its promise of reaching 12 million children worldwide with one year to go to the Games.