Five of the country’s Red Cross Toa Tai – Warriors of the Sea – head to Italy next month for Operation Poliavalenti Salvatiggio in Acqua, where they will training to become certified instructors.
Team coordinator Pua Arthur is appealing for sponsors to help with their trip and uniforms, saying they will make the waters safer.
She is particularly proud of the only Red Cross life guard from the Northern Group, Pokolea Yeutu from Pukapuka, who has persevered and continued training despite the enormous distances. He will travel to Italy along with: Henry (Katu) Short, Tauri Tua, Kura Happ, Zeb Revake and Arthur.
Revake is just grateful for the chance. “Tourism is the biggest industry in the Cook Island’s and the biggest attraction of course, is our waters – the sea. It’s not just about saving lives or applying first aid, it’s about sharing the knowledge of skills with people to minimise the danger of losing lives in the water.”
Initiation of this project began 2 years ago by Red Cross Secretary General, Fine Tuitupou-Arnold with society treasurer and acting president Lesley Katoa in May 2018.
Then, two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were signed with the Italian Red Cross.
The first is to promote partnership and ensure long-term cooperation between the Cook Islands and Italy, based on the fundamental principles and the common humanitarian values of International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement.
The second MOU covers First Aid and water rescue, signed with the Tuscany regional branch, said to have the best water rescue programme in the Italian Red Cross.
After their return home late next month Toa Tai aspire to train people in quality water safety operations here, and the Pa Enua and therefore there will no longer be a need to bring in trainers from overseas.
The Cook Islands Red Cross Society continues to build strong international partnerships in order to deliver on its mission of building a resilient Cook Islands through the power of humanity.
The Italian Red Cross has one of the best water rescue programmes in the Red Cross movement and supports other national societies in developing their programme own water rescue programmes.
Red Cross intends to offer water rescue training and services in the future as part of its First Aid training activities.
With the trip not far away, the Toa Tai team of six, are inviting sponsors to kindly contribute to their uniforms and also support the humanitarian society.