ParaPraia starts assisted sea bathing activities for people with disabilities and reduced mobility

First day of activities had 67 volunteers who attended 33 bathers.


It was with great joy that the 67 volunteers, including professionals and university students, received the first 33 bathers of the 7th edition of ParaPraia, last Saturday, January 4th, at Ondina beach. Launched in the summer of 2014, the program aims to promote accessibility and assisted bathing in the sea for people with physical disabilities or mobility difficulties, having already been carried out on several beaches in Salvador and neighboring cities. This year, Para Praia will take place every Saturday at Ondina beach, in front of the Institute Bahiana of Rehabilitation (IBR), until February 15th. A final stage is planned at a beach in Camaçari, on February 29th and March 1st.

ParaPraia is an initiative of the city of Salvador, through the Municipal Secretariat for Sustainability, Innovation and Resilience (SECIS) with the support of Escola Bahiana de Medicina e Saúde Pública and sponsorship by Braskem and Salvador Shopping.

The secretary of the Municipal Secretariat for Sustainability, Innovation and Resilience, André Fraga, emphasizes the participation of Bahiana in the project and the importance of the joint effort between institutions of the private sector, organized civil society and public authorities. “The project only works precisely because it has this volume of connections and partnerships. There is the will of the city to provide this space for leisure and citizenship, as a beach; on the other hand, there is an association with the Bahiana, which helps to give it a more professional and academic character. And there is also a multidisciplinarity, with the participation of professionals from different areas, which is fundamental. If it weren't for that, the project wouldn't work so well or probably wouldn't even exist."

The Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Education Lato Sensu of Bahiana, Professor Maria de Lourdes Freitas Gomes, reinforces the importance of the institution's participation in the project as a tool to strengthen the three pillars of training (teaching, research and extension): “We strengthened this relationship by bringing students and teachers to an activity that, at the same time, time, offers the possibility of being playful and also formative, as they learn to work as a team and cooperate”.

She also highlights that the activity places students in situations in which it is necessary to develop specific skills in their areas of training: “Often, we receive patients using a respirator or using oxygen and who need certain care while showering. It is not only taking the bather to the sea, but also promoting some kind of care for them when it is necessary and that we are not putting the health of these bathers at risk”.

“It's great to get in the sand, take a dip in the sea. My mom always brought me to the beach. I think the project is very good, because there are a lot of people who stay at home, sometimes they can't come to the beach because it's not accessible, and the project gives them a way to take a bath in the sea”, declares Rafael Francisco Silva Santos, from 11 years old, presenter of the YouTube channel Rafatech1101 (
A little older, but no less satisfied, Marcelo Alves Santana also said he was delighted with the possibility of bathing in the sea: “I think it should go on for a little longer. We would thank you. The staff is well prepared, from reception to water. It was really wonderful.”

During the months of November and December 2019, the Bahiana published a notice for the training of volunteers to act in assisted sea bathing. In all, 619 people signed up and about 300 trained, which will guarantee the participation of 70 volunteers per day. The Dean of Extension, professor Carolina Pedroza, explains that, this time, the training stage was brought forward to increase the number of volunteers with the objective of receiving people from other areas, in addition to health. "It was a pleasant surprise, as we know that ParaPraia has been, since 2014, consolidating and being recognized as a project of great social relevance, but there was a great expectation that other people could participate and this was revealed in this number of subscribers" .

According to her, a total of seven stages of training were carried out so that all interested parties were qualified for this bath. In addition to students and people from other areas, the teams that accompany the bathers are supervised by teachers from the Bahiana who also take the bath in the case of bathers with specific needs, such as people who use oxygen, respiration by artificial ventilation and other cases of greater care.
João Victor Almeida dos Santos, medical student at Bahiana, says that he met ParaPraia at the end of 2019 and soon became interested in participating: "I saw in this project the opportunity to do a little more for other people. The Medicine course at Bahiana it seeks humanization a lot, this closer and more human contact with people and, seeing what we can do in this project, I thought: 'I have to be here helping, I have to be part of that too!' "

The former student of Physiotherapy at Bahiana and the current technical coordinator of ParaPraia, Igor Alonso, explains that the training had three moments: “Initially, the volunteers got to know in depth how the project works; then they received information about the management of bathers and notions of first aid and, finally, they had practical activities on the beach where ParaPraia takes place”.

Photos: Marcelo Gandra

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