DAS is a new initiative of CandleAid in association with the Deaf and Blind School of Ratmalana. It is an extension of the existing Swim-for-Safety (SFS) programme started in 2007. On 14th May 2013, CandleAid commenced the DAS Programme, to teach the blind, and the hearing and speech impaired children to swim. 10 blind children from humble backgrounds commenced their training with the Right Honourable Justice Christy Weeramantry flagging off the DAS project.
The task set for the coach was not easy. She had not trained a blind student before. The target was to teach these children to swim 25 meters. On 13 June 2013, 7 of the 10 blind swimmers completed CandleAid’s first training course successfully. They swam diagonally at times, navigating to the sound of a bell and a horn. Yes, it only needed people to believe that these children, differently abled, have abilities that cry out for opportunity.