Distraught parent warns others of drowning danger

Materno Biwot with a photo of his son Jenon.
Materno Biwot with a photo of his son Jenon.

The Edmund Rice Centre volunteer and Clarkson resident’s 13-year-old son Jenon drowned off Claytons Beach in Mindarie earlier this year.

‘His tragic and untimely death devastated us very much,’ Mr Biwot said.

‘My life has changed completely and I keep asking myself what I could have done differently to have averted his drowning.

‘I would like parents not to undergo what I went through, it was a terrible experience.’

Mr Biwot, from southern Sudan, said the child protection campaign was ‘vitally important because it manifested the magnitude of social problems’ families and entire communities faced.

‘It creates an avenue for disseminating information to the public and communities and significant others to understand the needs to create a safer place for the children who need protection,’ he said.

The social science student said there needed to be ‘rigorous water safety and swimming lessons’ provided to children in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) communities, especially those coming from land-locked countries.

‘If this will be conducted through a formal system like schools we will save more lives,’ Mr Biwot said.

‘Some children may not like to go to beaches but sometimes peer pressure may put them in an awkward position and it makes it an important thing that every person needs to take seriously.

‘People going to the beach need to be informed that we can guarantee safety in water so that people understand that going to the beach and more specifically entering into the water requires serious caution.’

The City of Stirling is holding a free Child Protection Week event at Barry Britton Reserve in Balga from 10am-1pm on Saturday, September 7 to provide local families with information on water safety and child protection.