Sunday 26 February 2012

International Association of Hand in Hand Divers Hong Kong

IAHD Hong Kong Logo

I am not really the kind of person who is into new years resolutions and things like that, though one topics on my "going to do list" is/was doing some work for volunteer organisations. Having been a diving instructor for some time now, I thought that doing something along those lines would be good.

There is one organisation in Hong Kong that supports people with disabilities who still want to explore the underwaterworld. The International Association of Hand in Hand Divers (Hong Kong) is a member of a global International Association of Handicapped Divers, which happened to be a Dutch organisation as well.

Today was my first encounter with the organisation and the way dive activities run. Normal divecourses are buzzing on the side, with students assembling their own gear and groups on multiple sides of the pool. Each group is lead by an instructor and sometimes a dive-master. Though in this case, there is a whole team of surface supporters. People that assemble gear, people that help the participants getting ready and so on. As not everyone is mobile, the "on deck" coordination is quite heavy to prevent chaos.

In most cases the in water work varies a fair bit as well. Try to move around if you can't move your arms or legs. How about handsignals underwater if someone can't see.....

My role today was fairly simple and straight forward, observe and lend a hand where you can. I have been doing exactly that. This included swimming/diving around the pool with some people. Nothing crazy, though it was nice to see and get some appreciation at the end.

Can't wait to get my instructor conversion sorted and run some open water and advanced courses!

UPDATE 05 March 2012: RTHK had a radio session regarding support for the disabled, a recording can be found here