State House

Office of the President of The Republic of Seychelles


Greater support from government to social institutions

December 6, 2010 -- The St Elizabeth Convent and the Centre d'Accueil de La Rosiere, two social institutions that play a leading role in the lives of children, young adults and senior citizens, will get more support from government.

This will follow a visit on Friday by Vice-President Danny Faure to the St Elizabeth Convent and Centre d'Accueil de La Rosière. He was accompanied by his director for public and policy affairs, Alvin Laurence, who spoke of the need to increase help.

Both institutions come under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church. The convent consists of the Foyer de la Providence orphanage and the Maurice Roh old people's home, while the La Rosière centre - which opened earlier this year - caters for the needs of young men who are drug addicts.

During his visit Mr Faure got the chance to talk to Bishop Denis Wiehe and the sisters in charge of all the foyers that are run by the Church, including the Foyer de Nazareth for boys and La Solitude based at La Misère for teenage girls.

He also met the director in charge of the La Rosière centre, Jocelyn Florentine, who said it now has three young men on its programme - the third group who have asked for help.

The centre has five coordinators, including three former drug addicts, to counsel and take part in vocational activities with the men.

They discuss their addiction problems and also do practical work to improve their skills in such areas as carpentry, cooking and craftwork using natural fibres.

Mrs Florentine said that before being accepted on the programme, these men had to come to the centre with either a parent or girlfriend.

This is vital as they need lots of support, and alone they will not be able to give the necessary commitment.
The addicts are first advised to go for a detox session at a clinic for a few days, after which they start attending meetings where they share their experiences and talk about their problems.

Mrs Florentine said that later they will stay at the centre as residents for intense counselling. At the same time, the centre talks to the families where these addicts will return after their treatment.

The programme is not medical but focuses mainly on spirituality and sexuality, she added.

The centre has also been approached by women seeking help, but unfortunately it cannot do much for them at the moment.

"But soon they will renovate this centre so it can also cater for the needs of these women, and the men will be moved to a larger house at La Misère," she said.

At the Foyer de la Providence, Bishop Wiehe said the orphanage caters not only for orphans but for children who cannot live at home because of social problems.

He added that the staff, along with the sisters, are doing a remarkable job with the total of 36 children and teenagers in the institutions run by the St Elizabeth Convent.

"There are some difficulties as it is not easy to run these orphanages, especially financially," he said.

The Bishop explained that the Department of Social Development gives substantial help, but this has to be used to clothe and feed the children. The running budget is tight as it also has to cover maintenance and renovation, for which they depend on benefactors.

He said they appreciate the work the government is doing but they need more support.

"Now the VP has suggested that we present an overall plan to them and they will help us in stages," said Bishop Wiehe. 

Mr Laurence said the aim of the visit was to see what is happening, what needs to be addressed and what new allocations of funds and services need to be made.

"It was also to thank all those who are helping to take care of these children and adults, as they are doing a noble job," he said.

Mr Laurence said the government has done well economically and is now more than willing to give back to the community as it has always done and will keep doing.