Cap Ternay Staff and Volunteers took part in a day of amazing challenges to raise funds and awareness for the Presidents Village children’s home.
The Presidents village children’s home has been the charitable trust for GVI Seychelles for around 3 years, each quarter staff and volunteers organise a fund raising event to help fund the children’s home.
This February the ‘Cap T Charity challenge’ saw teams race across the island on point scoring missions in the hopes of becoming Cap T Champions! Each team containing 1 staff member and up to 6 volunteers was given ten hours and a list of over 50 challenges to complete, each challenge earning different points depending on its difficulty. As the day progressed we saw team members scaling up mountains, leaping over waterfalls and swimming across to islands! Some of the less physical challenges sent team members off on searches for some of the Seychelles rarer inhabitants such as the Giant Tortoise and Scops Owl. The money raised by such events is key in allowing the children to enjoy additional experiences such as a trip away or even providing essentials such as shoes and stationary for school.
Over the last three years the GVI Seychelles Marine Expedition has built a close relationship with the Presidents Village Children’s Home based in Port Glaud. The Children’s Home provides food, clothing and a safe environment for up to sixty children ranging from a few months to 18 years old.
Every two weeks staff and volunteers from the Marine Conservation Expedition take a group of the children snorkelling in the local marine park. Prior to GVIs involvement with the Presidents Village many of the kids could not swim. Today the majority of them can’t wait to get in the water! In addition to fostering a love of the water that surrounds their island home, the snorkel sessions are an opportunity to educate the children on marine conservation issues in the hope that some of them will become marine researchers or park rangers one day.
Alongside the snorkel sessions, GVI Seychelles has been holding quarterly fundraising events to raise much needed funds for the Children’s Home. The events have ranged from a Raft Race within the Baie Ternay Marine Park, the ‘Amazing Race’ made up of gruelling challenges around Mahe, and the Cap Ternay Olympics.
In total we raised over £3000 in 2012 and a huge thanks must go to all the volunteers and staff past and present for taking part as well as their friends and families for all the generous donations.
It was decided that some of this money would be used to purchase Christmas presents for the kids and that they would be presented to them at the annual Presidents Village & GVI Christmas Party. Many of the younger kids were desperately in need of shoes and clothes so measurements were taken and the necessary items bought. For the older children it was an opportunity to visit the shops with GVI staff and volunteers and to choose something themselves.
On the night of the Christmas party twenty five volunteers and seven staff visited the Children’s Home where they spent a few hours playing various games with the kids. Then came the moment the children had been waiting for when each volunteer and staff member gave each child a wrapped present and a hand made Christmas card. There was smiles all round as the children tore through the wrapping paper of what for many was the first Christmas present they had ever received.
There then followed a wonderful Creole dinner cooked by the amazing staff at the Children’s Home. GVI Seychelles was then presented with a wonderful painting that had been made by several of the children.
Base Manager Rowana Walton commented that ‘at such a family oriented and festive time of year, it was wonderful to spend some time with the children and have the opportunity to make their Christmas special’.
As the 2012 Olympics took London by storm, the GVI Cap Ternay base was also in a sporting frenzy. Staff and Volunteers of the Seychelles Marine base took up the challenge of a sponsored beach Olympics with the aim of raising much needed funds for the Presidents Village Children’s home.
The expedition members and staff were assigned teams, each team creating a country, flag and costume for the day’s events. The Cap Ternay Beach Olympics opening ceremony saw the countries raising their flags and touches to an array of national anthems including Disney themes and the Monster Mash. The day was a great success, the Seychelles weather held out ensuring rain never stopped play, keeping our sporting pitch dry and allowing such Olympic games as team gymnastics and sand castle building to go ahead.
The Presidents village Children’s home is located in Port Glaud, Mahe and provides a home to around 50 local children. The Presidents village has been the charitable trust for GVI Mahe for close to three years and each quarter a large fundraising event is organised. In previous years the funds raised by the charitable trust have allowed the children of the Presidents Village to visit the Island of Praslin for a camping trip and have enabled GVI to purchase bikes, shoes and clothing for the children.
Each quarter an activity day is arranged with the Presidents Village where volunteers and staff will visit the children’s home. The day is usually action packed with crafts, football and snorkelling and is an excellent opportunity for the volunteers to see firsthand where the funds will be used.
In partnership with local NGO The Marine Conservation Society of the Seychelles (MCSS) GVI hosted a one day mangrove workshop for local school children. The aim of the day was to introduce the children to the mangrove ecosystem and some of the threats facing them in the local area.
Eighteen children from local schools attended the workshop at the GVI Cap Ternay base on Mahe. The children had been asked to produce a piece of writing or artwork about the environment. The best two entries from each school were awarded a place on the two week ‘Academy by the Sea’ programme run by MCSS. This summer school programme aims to introduce and educate these children about the their local environment through activities such as snorkeling, walks and academic workshops. The mangrove workshop with GVI was part of this programme.
During the workshop the children explored the mangrove system within the Baie Ternay marine park. They went snorkelling to see some of the aquatic life living within the ecosystem. They also received a presentation from GVI about mangrove biology, threats facing them and the importance of protecting these ecosystems. At the end of the day all the children got to be a ‘researcher’ for a few hours as well! In groups they conducted mangrove surveys assessing the density and diversity of mangrove species within the Baie Ternay marine park. The children thoroughly enjoyed learning about the mangroves and the work that GVI conducts in the Seychelles. Hopefully some were inspired to become researchers themselves one day!
Mangroves are a unique and important ecosystem. They are used by a vast array of organisms as breeding, nursery and feeding areas. Mangroves also play a valuable role in foreshore protection, reducing erosion by cyclones and lessening the impact of storm surge. If managed incorrectly, removal of mangroves can result in shoreline erosion and mobilisation of marine sediments. The main factor leading to the loss of mangrove biodiversity is habitat loss caused by conversion or progressive degradation of the forest, water pollution and withdrawal. Education is an essential tool in educating local people on how they can protect these ecosystems in the future.
Abi March, education officer for MCSS, said ‘I am happy that GVI have made the time to share their knowledge and resources with the next generation of Seychellois. This is a wonderful opportunity for these school children to explore and learn about this unique ecosystem’. GVI continues to work towards its long-term objectives to ensure that local children are informed and educated about their surrounding environment.
As the end of the expedition was approaching for twelve of the volunteers, an air of melancholy was descending upon the camp. And yet we had to turn any frowns upside down as Creole Day at the President’s Village was upon us. On a quarterly basis the volunteers join their forces to organise a very special day for the local children’s home.
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