Michela Colella – PADI Course Director and Operations Manager at Divers Down in UAE – tells us about her ‘School Project’:
“As a PADI Instructor, I know teaching scuba diving is not solely about introducing people to a sport and a lifestyle I love. Divers love to dive and divers learn to love the environment. By teaching young people to dive, it is possible to engender in them a passion for the seas and a determination to ensure the reefs and sea-life we treasure survive for generations to come.
Warming oceans, overfishing, and chemical and plastic pollution are placing pressures and challenges on the environment unprecedented in human history. One estimate suggests by 2050 there will be, by weight, more plastic in the sea than fish.
Living in the UAE and being part of the team at Divers Down, I have had the great opportunity to introduce young people to scuba diving and also to educate them about the value of conservation.
At Divers Down, I have led a programme to introduce young people to scuba diving. As part of the programme, we also raised important issues relating to the risks posed by human activity to the environment.
We have been running weekly Discover Scuba Diving sessions in school swimming pools across Dubai. This great opportunity also gave us the chance to raise awareness of the some of the most pressing environmental challenges to young minds.
Me and the team teach children ways to care for oceans and how to reduce human pollution. We lead children in discussions and then show them evidence – the detritus of modern life that litters the beaches and reefs, not just in the UAE but around the world.
It is hugely rewarding to be with a young student as they take their first breaths underwater. It is equally rewarding to encourage in them the right attitude to create a sustainable world – that is the goal of the schools’ project.
Like all PADI Instructors, we hope to change the direction of our students’ lives for the better.
Introducing children to the natural world can instil in them a lifelong love of the natural world and can help them protect delicate ecosystems for generations to come. The reaction from the students, and their teachers and parents – awe, respect and wonder — was beyond our expectations.
We know children learn better while having fun. Introducing them to the natural world – exploring delicate aquatic ecosystem – is one of the best ways young people can learn about the threats to the oceans (without them actually realising it).
I am certain that if all children were lucky enough to learn about diving and to fall in love with it and the environment, our world would be a better place.
A big thank you to those Schools who gave me this great opportunity and to an amazing educational system that was open to allowing its students to learn to scuba divr, as well as encouraging practical ways to protect our environment.”
On behalf of PADI, congratulations to the students who enrolled in the project!
…. and special thanks Michela and Divers Down’s Team : keep up the good work!