This is one of the three core programmes that form the focus of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

South Africa has an extremely long coast line, the climate is very warm. and since there are many previously disadvantages communities, the Learn to Swim programme is of vital importance with a need to teach people to swim. It does so by recruiting children into swimming classes and focuses in particular on children who are disadvantaged or exposed to an obvious risk of drowning due to their environment such as their housing, journey to school, climate events, proximity to a beach or stretch of water such as a dam or river. This training is always accompanied by water safety information. In communities with no access to a swimming pool.

Difference Made In teaching children to swim

Instructors Trained
learn to swim


The Foundation works with local athletes and sporting heroes to help promote their programme and inspire children to participate. For example, the Foundation has linked with Lifesaving South Africa to work with their vast network of lifeguards and instructors who have the knowledge and expertise to not only teach swimming but also teach First Aid and CPR.

The Foundation in South Africa works with local organisations hosting swimming courses and training days that teach children how to swim safely and confidently. In fact, in 2012, shortly after the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation launched in Monaco, the first of many successful Learn to Swim and Water Safety programmes were developed in different areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Over the next three years thousands of children benefitted from these programmes. In 2016, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation taught 2 507 children to swim and 27 242 children essential water safety skills through 19 projects across South Africa. Because of the incredible success of this initiative within SA, in 2016 the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa was officially created.

Photo credit: Howard Cleland

The Foundation has helped fund the building of swimming facilities or assisted with the renovations of existing swimming pools to make them safe and usable in all types of weather.

The Foundation is also working with the Seagulls Swimming Club in KwaZulu Natal and the Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy in Gauteng to broaden their reach so that they can teach young South Africans how to swim.

Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy

Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy was established in 2011 by the current owner, Lizette Botha. She previously owned Aqua Kid Swim School in Nelspruit for more than 17 years before she became the Head Coach at Ryk Neethling’s swim school in Pretoria for three years. Her current swimming academy presents more than 170 000 swimming lessons per year and is the largest Infant- and Learn-to-Swim academy in South Africa. Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy has got 9x highly qualified full-time swimming instructors in their service. All of them are graduates in the fields of teaching, human movement science and/or childhood psychology.

Seagulls Swimming Club

Seagulls Swimming Club is a well established association, offering the finest training with progressive teaching and coaching methods.

Founded by DOREEN HILL in 1987, a former SA Champion and National coach. Doreen produced 8 Springboks during her coaching career, included in the 8 – Graham Hill. Graham was recently appointed as the SA Head Coach

Swimming Stars

As a four time Olympian I understand that swimming techniques and philosophies are always changing. At Ryk Neethling™ Swimming Stars™, parents can feel assured that every swimming instructor will stay at the forefront with regards to technique, teaching philosophies and international best practice Learn to Swim principles and evaluations.