In Haiti, the young people of Tortuga Island turn to the sea

In 2021, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation began an important project in Haiti alongside L'Appel, an international solidarity association that carries out actions for the development of children and their communities.

On the isolated Tortuga Island in the northwest of the country, L'Appel has been working since 2003 in favour of local education and schools. On this 37 km long island, with a population grouped mainly on its plateau at 300 meters above sea level, most turn their backs on the sea, do not know how to swim and fear the water. Beyond the issue of a high drowning rate on the island, this fear leads the population to forego aquatic and maritime activities, hindering the island’s development.

Faced with this situation, the ADETOM (Association of School Directors for a Better Tortuga) has started a swimming learning program. With the expertise of L'Appel and the financial support of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, the objective is to teach the basics of swimming to the children of the island’s 50 schools while contributing to their discovery of the coastal environment.

Teaching is provided mainly to primary school children, but also to the island’s teenagers and teachers – the latter benefiting primarily from initiations to water safety.

The overall vision of the project is to create, among young people, an awareness of the benefits of water and the natural richness of their island – for an economic development aligned with environmental safeguarding.

At the end of this 3-year project on Tortuga Island, 150 supervisors will be trained to ensure the safety of swimming lessons on the island's beaches (3 per school). 4,000 students aged 8 to 16 will be made aware of the environment and learning to swim. 60 teenagers from 13 to 16 years old will have strengthened their maritime knowledge and developed their management skills as part of 3 summer camps organized with the Scouts Marins d'Haïti.