Tuesday, December 7, 2010

07/12/10 Kids day out at the beach

GVI Seychelles formed a partnership earlier this year with our local children’s home, The Presidents Village in Port Glaud. As part of GVI’s larger Charitable Trust we formed an agreement with them whereby we would raise money for the home and also provide some educational and fun activities for the children to partake in. The Children’s home is part of ‘The Childrens Home Foundation’ a Seychelles NGO. They have several children’s homes in the Seychelles for abused, neglected and orphaned children. The Presidents village currently homes around 60 children from infancy to 18 years old. These children have very few toys, books and stimuli at the home. They all attend local schools but are not permitted to leave the children’s home without an adult, meaning extra-curricular activities are limited.

Yesterday a group of GVI volunteers and staff decided to change that and give some of the children some out of school fun. We met a group of ten children on the nearby Port Launay beach. Their ages ranged from four to twelve years old. We wanted to give them some more knowledge of their local area so taught them a short lesson on the three local ecosystems that they live next to (mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs). The second part of the session was to be spent snorkelling so we sized up all the children with the necessary mask, snorkel and fins. Some of the kids took to it straight away and were swimming off over the reef pointing out fish, corals and sea cucumbers that they had learnt about. Some of the others needed a bit more time in the shallows to get used to the equipment and to work on their swimming skills. It is a sad fact that although the sea surrounds the Seychellois many of them cannot swim. Hopefully through these sessions we can improve on their skills and confidence in the water.

We spent several hours in the sea and the kids went from nervous and shy to exuberant and playful. No one wanted to go home and we were sad to say goodbye to the kids. Each child was presented with a GVI Seychelles Marine Biology Club snorkelling log before they went home. The log has pictures to help them identify what they see on their snorkels or swims and they can then have a record of every session they have with us. We will definitely be continuing with the sessions and look forward to seeing the kids again in the New Year.

For more information about the Presidents Village or if you would like to make a donation, please take a look at the Charitable Trust website at www.gvi.org.uk or contact info@gvi.org.uk