Meet Swim for Refugees

Swim for Refugees is a volunteer organisation offering free swimming lessons for people of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

During our season, we offer free swimming classes for Men and Children as well as Women’s Only classes on Saturdays. We also run an Activity Centre with free snacks, tea and coffees for our community and care for kids while Mum and Dad swim.

Get involved below or keep reading to learn more about us!

Swim for Refugees first came about after hearing from some lovely friends of ours share their experiences living in Perth as new members of the community.

Loving to fish, but doing so in fear of a wave washing them into the open water; spending their newfound freedom lounging on the sand at Cottesloe Beach, but not having the skills to do more than splash in the shallow waters.

Many people who come to WA seeking shelter and refuge come from places where they’ve never had the opportunity or need to learn to swim.

We couldn’t think of a better way to help welcome these people to Perth, get them involved with Western Australian culture and community and help form the critical lifesaving skill of swimming which allows us all to join in our lifestyle safely and without fear.

On September 17th 2016, the first Swim for Refugees Program was run. Created by UWA Students For Refugees, the program provided free swimming lessons for refugees ranging from children to adults.

The first day, we had fifteen volunteers, but only seven people learning to swim. By the end of the first run of the program, we had over 30 students coming every week to learn to swim.

Seven years later in 2023, we are still an entirely volunteer run community organisation. We’ve taught over 600 people how to swim, and engaged more than 200 volunteers.

Most importantly, with many of our families returning every year, we haven’t just taught hundreds of people to swim, we’ve built a strong community of people from all over Perth and the world.

We welcome you to get involved and join our community!