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’.