Manitoba

Burkini Pool Party promotes new swimming skills for new Canadians

Seven Oaks Pool was filled with splashes and laughter on Saturday evening for the first annual Burkini Pool Party.

‘I think the burkini is awesome,’ Lubna Hussain said

Seven Oaks Pool was filled with splashes and laughter on Saturday evening for the first annual Burkini Pool Party. (CBC)

Seven Oaks Pool was filled with splashes and laughter on Saturday evening for the first annual Burkini Pool Party.

A burkini is a swimsuit which covers the whole body, except the face, hands and feet.

"I think the burkini is awesome and it's just like any other swimming wear; it's like scuba diving attire," said Lubna Hussain.

"I'm proud to wear it. I know I will be fine wearing it. It's not a problem for me."

(Left) Lubna Hussain says she is proud to wear her burkini. (CBC)
The Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties hosted the party, which also introduced a newcomer water safety program. Hussain said it's important for new Canadians to learn the swimming skill.

"It's important to learn to swim. Going to the beach, going to the pool is a social aspect of life," she said.

The new swimming program is organized with the help of the Newcomer Employment and Education Development Services, the Manitoba Islamic Association and the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

Warda Ahmed says it is important for new Canadians to learn to swim. (CBC)
The swimming challenges faced by some new Canadians were highlighted after the drowning of two children at Grand Beach in August, said Warda Ahmed, community recreation coordinator with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. Both children had immigrated to Canada from the Philippines with their families.

"This past summer we've had, unfortunately, a few deaths," she said.

"Our hope is that we can be proactive and put something in place moving forward."

The program will include transportation and swimming gear, including the burkini.

The burkini itself has stirred controversy after it was banned at Mediterranean beach resorts in France. Ahmed said that's one of the reasons they wanted to host the special pool party.

"We just want to let Muslim women and every woman around the world know they can wear anything they like," she said. 

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