Help save young lives

Materno Biwot holds a photograph of his son Jenon who died after drowning earlier this year off a Mindarie beach.Photographer: Matt Jelonek 406882c
Materno Biwot holds a photograph of his son Jenon who died after drowning earlier this year off a Mindarie beach.Photographer: Matt Jelonek 406882c

The Edmund Rice Centre volunteer and Clarkson resident’s 13-year-old son Jenon died after drowning off Clayton’s 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, who came to Australia 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 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 communities, especially those coming from landlocked 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.