Lessons from the tsunami at the lighthouse community pool

The 2004 tsunami horror haunts survivors and many have tried to pick up the pieces but memories of the loss of loved ones linger in their minds. Claiming the lives of over 30,000 people and displacing over half a million others, a devastating tsunami struck the shores of Sri Lanka on December 26th, 2004.

Later on, it was found that many lives lost was a result of an inability to swim let alone stay afloat in water. In an effort to better inform the locality about survival skills, the community pool in Galle was established in 2008 with the land and donations put forward by Jetwing Lighthouse, Adopt Sri Lanka Trust, SOS Velsen from the Netherlands and SwimLanka.

In a survey conducted by SwimLanka’s Julian Bolling at the time, he found that a large number of children and adults in Galle would have survived the tsunami if they had at least the basic knowledge of how to float. This gave birth to the community pool where a training programme for school children would take place. With public schools sending their students, the parents too are very keen on sending their children to learn how to swim. Students from 26 schools and even adults are currently benefiting from this worthy cause.

The Lighthouse Community Pool Trust was formed under the guidance of the trustees Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing, Geoffrey Dobbs, Chairman of Adopt Sri Lanka (money donated by students of schools in Surrey UK channeled through ADSL), and Klaas Van Slooten, Chairman of SOS Velson, Netherlands. With the land provided by Jetwing, donations put forward by ADSL and SOS Velson, and the expertise from SwimLanka, the first community swimming pool in Galle came to life.

The swimming training sessions are conducted at no cost to the school children. With a course duration of three months, 26 schools receive free swimming lessons by sending 10 students for each session. Every three months a fresh batch of 10 students is sent from each school making the Lighthouse Community Pool Trust empower 260 students monthly. Here, private classes for students and adults are also conducted with a minimal monthly fee.

While the national and Asian swimmer, Julian Bolling took on the task of training the children, now his students and some of the very survivors of the tsunami have come forward to assist the learners. Although the working staff is of a low number, the community collectively looks for the continuation of the training programme. The donations collected in and around Galle helps in the maintenance of the community pool ensuring that no child or woman goes unattended.

The Lighthouse Community Pool Trust while taking the children in Galle under their wing hopes to expand its service by extending the training to many more children in the area. With the help of additional trustees and donors this dream can be brought to life benefiting many more generations to come. We have already have success stories especially one of a student rescuing his batch mate who was drowning at sea. For more information on how you too can save a life please contact Nadhun on 0773421720.

Family owned and in the tourism industry for the past 43 years, Jetwing Hotels has surpassed expectation in every aspect. Building on their foundation of being passionate, as well as the experience of true, traditional Sri Lankan hospitality, constantly pioneering discoveries captures the essence of the brand. Such a strong statement and direction have enabled Jetwing Hotels to imagine, create and manage marvels and masterpieces, where distinctive design and elegant comfort complement each other and the environment. In line with the Jetwing Hotels Sustainable Strategy, across all properties sustainable and responsible practices are given precedence with resource efficiency, community upliftment and education, and awareness being some of our key focus areas.


Media Relations – Jetwing Hotels
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Jetwing Lighthouse

  • Total hot water and steam requirement for the laundry is generated sustainably through a biomass boiler which is fed cinnamon wood (one of four sustainable fuel wood species and an otherwise discarded by-product of the cinnamon spice industry)