As PADI Regional Manager in charge of Egypt, I had the privilege to become involved in Deptherapy’s largest ever and most successful programme yet.During mid-May, 12 wounded Veterans took part in the Deptherapy programme at Pharaoh Dive Club – The Roots Luxury Camp, which thanks to the owners (Steve and Clare) has become the point of reference for Deptherapy in Egypt. These armed forces veterans suffering from life-changing mental and/or physical injuries, enrolled onto different PADI courses: some were certified as Open Water Divers, some as Advanced Open Water, some others as Deep Specialty Divers and all became EANX divers.
Deptherapy is a UK based charity, using scuba diving to rehabilitate veterans afflicted by both mental and physical disabilities. Deptherapy aims through adaptive teaching to qualify such individuals wherever possible as PADI divers and able to dive anywhere in the world (with the only support of their dive buddy – without extra personnel needed).Veterans – wounded in service – also assisted in the training programme as Instructors and Divemasters. The teaching team included PADI Ambassadiver, Chris Middleton, who lost both legs in Afghanistan and has subsequently worked through the Deptherapy programme from Open Water to Divemaster and is now aiming to become a PADI Instructor. Dr Richard Cullen, founder and chairman of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education also ran a Deptherapy Education Instructor Training Course, where in status Divemasters and Instructors can become qualified in Adaptive Teaching for the physically and mentally challenged diver.As a spectator, I was lucky to attend sections of each course: I assisted Confined and Open water dives of Open Water students, dived with the students on their PADI Advanced Open Water and Specialty courses, attended and practiced the ‘adaptive training’ delivered by Richard!
…and I even managed to run a presentation on the PADI continuing education philosophy together with Chris Middleton.
The audience was inspired by our words and the majority of OWD completed the AOWD in the next days. Some of the newly certified divers are willing to progress even further, motivated not only by Chris but also by Andy Searle, a motivated diver who lost both legs during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, who is now working through his Divemaster Course.
It was an incredible experience to watch these ex-military personnel participate in their PADI courses, many diving for the first time and really enjoying it! Once in the water, it was truly awe-inspiring to see that the words “I can’t” don’t exist in Deptherapy. Watching the injured Veterans repeating skills, working as a team, showing that there are no limitations, made me quickly understand why Deptherapy’s slogan is ‘Mission Possible!’
There are many ways to get involved with Deptherapy including training, fundraising, donating. They’re a charity and couldn’t continue their work without your help, so if you’d like to get involved please get in touch with Richard Cullen.
For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit their website at www.deptherapy.co.uk.
[ Photo credits: Dmitry Knyazev ]