A complete circle: The President’s Village returned to the NCC
Creating a state orphanage was one of many dreams of Mrs Geva Rene, the Patron of NCC, for the children of Seychelles. Even in its infancy, in 1980 following a Presidential Decree, NCC, which replaced Seychelles Children Society took on the role of the defender of children.
Under the leadership of Mrs Geva Rene, the Council had 16 other members which included the late Minister Mrs Rita Sinon as the Chairperson.
Although it initially formed part of the Ministry of Youth and Defence, the Council was quick to put its hand where it mattered, including the welfare department of the Social Services, building playgrounds and establishing regional offices with social workers across the country.
Most of these activities were later removed from the NCC’s portfolio following the creation of the Ministry of Social Services in 1986.
With the backing of the Children’s Act of 1982, a first research on ‘Children at risks’ was published creating more impetus and urgency for a special place for children who have lost their homes and families.
A state orphanage was a first for Seychelles and so the team under the leadership of the new chairperson, Mrs Martha Rene, sought the expertise of other similar projects in the region including the SOS Kinderdorf in Kenya. Through funding from various individuals such as Mr. Weiss of Seychelles Breweries, the project started to take shape on state owned land at Port Glaud.
Aptly named – The President’s Village- A cradle of Love, by a group of students from the Seychelles Polytechnic, a first group of children from the Saint Elizabeth’s orphanage were transferred in time for the opening on 1st June 1987. In 1988, NCC assumed full control of the village.
That same year, in its tenth year review, Mrs Geva Rene stated; ‘as long as we have abandoned children at risk in any way, [NCC] must go on.’ It took 20 years for the ‘cradle of love’ to be returned to the NCC.
But the dream remains the same and in the quest for the elusive ‘brighter tomorrow’, the new NCC management team will continue to strive to give children reasons to hope.