Indie Feature: Aqua Motion International


Today’s indie feature is about AMI (Aqua Motion International)—a swimming organization that is trying to make its way to Nepal to teach children there how to swim.

Aqua Motion International, started by Minneapolis native and private swim coach Jonathon McCarthy, is looking to make its inaugural trip with the help of crowdsourcing website Indiegogo. The AMI campaign began on February 19th and has until April 20th to reach its $5,000 goal.

The Idea

Jon began AMI because he saw an international need for swim lessons, particularly in third world countries. He initially planned to go on a trip and help teach swim lessons to children without access to them only to find out that no such organization existed and decided to start his own.

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. A whopping 96% of those fatal drownings occur in low to middle income countries. To compare, in Bangladesh, 46 children die every day from a drowning accident while only two children in the USA die each day in such an accident.

Part of the problem that McCarthy is trying to rectify is that at many of these locations where drowning is such a significant problem, there aren’t any established drowning prevention programs. Aqua Motion International seeks to provide free water safety education and drowning rescue education in those places that need it most.

The Destination

If successful, AMI will have its maiden voyage, so to speak, to Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepal experiences so many drowning incidents because of its heavy monsoon season which brings significant rainfall and flash flooding. These heavy rains also leave behind large pools of water that children can fall into and drown.

Swimming lessons are hard to come by in Nepal. For the first time, Nepali children will have access to free water safety education and swimming lessons.

The Plan

What I enjoyed most about this campaign is the way McCarthy plans to implement his plan. Conducting his own swim program for five years helped him to develop a 4-step lesson plan that is the first of its kind. The plan is broken down into four life-saving techniques to be taught during the lessons: holding their breath, floating, treading water, and the safety stroke.

In order to gain trust and help the children feel comfortable, AMI plans to use the money they raise to hire and train locals to teach the swimming course to children. Not only will this help the children feel more comfortable working with a native, but it will also eliminate the language barrier and create temporary jobs and income in the area.

The Goal

AMI hopes to raise a total of $10,000 through their Indiegogo campaign in order to cover expenses and hire the necessary personnel. However, half of that money will suffice and they area already a quarter of the way to it with approximately 46 days left to achieve the entire sum.

They hope to spend 12 days in Nepal, travel to four different locations, and teach 2,000 Nepali children how to swim.

So hurry to his page and donate! You can get any number of rewards based on your contribution amount from $10, which will get you a postcard from Nepal, to a local souvenir at the $50 price point, all the way to a cashmere shawl if you donate a whopping $500. You can also visit their website at
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