OCEAN TORCHBEARER AWARDS
Syed Abd Rahman
CERTIFICATION LEVEL: PADI IDC Staff Instructor (IDCS-302849)
LOCATION: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
CAUSE: Training the next generation of scuba divers
ADI IDC Staff Instructor and founder of PADI Five Star Dive Center Kids Scuba (S-22510) in Malaysia, Syed Abd Raman’s mission is to introduce the next generation to the underwater world. Abd Raman’s work with kids, teens, and youth communities has left a lasting impact, transforming lives, and fostering a sense of environmental responsibility. His dedication to water therapy and dive therapy for individuals with spinal cord injuries showcases the profound impact scuba diving can have on physical and emotional well-being. As a trailblazing PADI Pro, Abd Raman’s initiatives are inspiring fellow professionals and the entire diving community to make a positive difference, emphasizing the importance of conservation and inclusivity in protecting our oceans.
Why is it your mission to introduce the next generation to scuba diving?
A: As part of the PADI Youth Diving Advisory Committee, our mission at Kids Scuba is to ensure that we are inclusive and open to all levels of kids, teens, and youth in Malaysia. At Kids Scuba, we work closely with schools, youth, and orphanage centers for them to be exposed to sports. We also reach out to local and international schools to give these kids opportunities in water therapy and scuba diving. They are our next generation of divers, our future leaders.
Can you tell us more about your work with individuals with special abilities?
A: We work closely with many rehab physiotherapists and occupational therapists from medical facilities and universities, assisting spinal cord injury (SCI) patients back to normal life with water therapy and dive therapy. We have trained and certified 30 rehab physiotherapists and 20 medical teams, including doctors, as PADI Open Water Divers and PADI Adaptive Support Divers. We have also created a strong Medical Rehab Team at University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC), who are now qualified to assist their patients above and underwater. One of the amazing and motivating factors is to be able to see an SCI patient who is paralyzed from the waist down be able to move freely in the water while scuba diving. This has proven to reduce their neuropathic pain.
What other local initiatives and efforts are you undertaking with children/adaptive services?
A: At Kids Scuba, we work closely with the UMMC rehabilitation medicine team and pediatric clinic to expose disabled kids to sports and other types of therapy. We reach out to special schools for kids, giving them opportunities in scuba diving and water therapy. To date, we have worked with 12 special schools in Malaysia and extended opportunities to more than 100 kids.
What are your proudest achievements related to PADI’s Pillars of Change? A: My proudest moment was when we were able to reach out to the disabled community and special needs kids to introduce them to scuba diving in Malaysia. This falls under Pillar 3, People and Humanity. We change lives, especially those with spinal cord injuries, allowing them to move freely in the water. To see the achievements and smiles on their faces after each dive says it all.
What advice would you give to other PADI Professionals or the PADI diving community? A: As a PADI Pro, you can benefit overall from the knowledge gained from the Adaptive Techniques specialty course. We often get set in our teaching style over time, and the course helps you see the standards in a fresh light, teaching you how to adapt to the student while still holding the line on performance requirements, expanding your toolbox in ways that can be applied to all students. For example, learning how a paraplegic might perform the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA) successfully will help teach that skill to all divers.
The Ocean Torchbearer Awards recognize PADI Members who are leaders in the communities, actively working toward a better balance between humanity and the ocean. Nominated by their Regional Headquarters, each Ocean Torchbearer Awards winner receives a Seiko Prospex SRPD43 watch.
“Doing something new. That’s the adventure.” – Adventurer, Naomi Uemuta
Keep Going Forward
OCEAN TORCHBEARER AWARDS PADI Ocean Torchbearers believe there is a better and more responsible way for humanity to live in balance with nature and inspire others to bring about meaningful change by turning passion into purpose for the ocean.
Learn more about being a Torchbearer at blog.padi.com/seiko-ocean-torchbearer-award.
The Undersea Journal