Meryl, a lovely nine year-old girl with cerebral palsy has found confidence in herself when her mother, Kimberly, signed her to try out the Diveheart Kids programme by Diveheart Borneo team and immediately she fell in love with scuba diving.
The Diveheart Kids programme in Kuching, Sarawak is the first one to have been done in Borneo. The programme aims to instill the “can do” spirit in participants, inspiring them to take on challenges that they may not have considered before.
The in-water training was organised by the local Kuching PADI dive centre, Premier Marine and Scuba Centre and the Diveheart training was conducted by Ernest C.Teo, a PADI Instructor and Diveheart Borneo Coordinator. Among the volunteers were medical professionals and a professional rehab physiotherapist.
“Scuba therapy has benefitted Meryl in a lot of ways. She is able to move every part of her body and it gets her to think what she needs to do. Nowadays, she is more alert of her surroundings and feels more confident of herself,” Kimberly added.
Diveheart is a non-profit organisation based in Chicago, USA, offering scuba programmes for people with disability or adaptive scuba. Currently, it is the leading adaptive scuba training organisation in the world. While here in Asia, Diveheart is currently available only in Malaysia and at two locations, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching.
Diveheart supports educational scuba diving programmes to provide both physical and psychological therapeutic value to participants. With the programme, the Diveheart team discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of water which provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we are equal.
For those who are interested to be a Diveheart volunteer, they can contact the Premier and Scuba Centre in Kuching at +6011-10572822 (Office) or visit http://www.divekuching.com/index.html. Volunteers do not have to be scuba divers as there are many areas they can be of assistance.