Young leaders give back to society


The thanksgiving ceremony in full swing

The programme’s action plan, which will soon be presented to President James Michel, was made public at a thanksgiving ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the University of Seychelles’ Faculty of Science auditorium at Mont Fleuri.

Present at the ceremony were the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange, the pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Seychelles Lucy Athanasius, Deacon Danny Elizabeth from the Anglican church, the young leaders and some of their lecturers, mentors, parents and friends.

The two-year action plan was presented by Joseph François, who said that the aim of the programme, of which the motto is ‘Inspiring leadership through community service’, is aimed at developing new strategies, activities and techniques that respond to the country’s challenges, in line with the goals of the SYLP.

“If we want to give a chance to the community, we better start by giving and asking others to give,” Mr François said, echoing the spirit of the SYLP which is to groom leaders to serve the people.

The voluntary programme which will involve activities in different fields and which will target mainly children and young people, will include involvement in the ongoing tree-planting campaign, fund-raising to help in the reconstruction of the Mont Royal rehabilitation centre, family fun days during the Christmas and New Year period and visits to the Military Academy aimed at educating the youths on why Seychelles needs a military force.

The young leaders also intend to organise retreats for other youth leaders in order to showcase what has been learned and actioned so far through the SYLP.
Activities done so far include an education tour of the Botanical Gardens with the boys of the Foyer de Nazareth, and cleaning the compound and planting vegetables and fruits in the foyer’s garden in a bid to help make it more food secure.

Reflecting on the young leaders’ two-year course which culminates in a master’s degree in leadership and strategy, Miss Athanasius, who is also the programme’s coordinator, was thankful to the young professionals for contributing in the development of the country, to their employers for believing in them and to their families for their support.

Quoting former US President Theodore Roosevelt: “Let us remember that as much that has been given, much is expected of us”, Ms Athanasius told her former students that the country was proud of them for their leadership roles and voluntary work which inspire others.

Her reflections were echoed by five of the programme’s beneficiaries – Nathalie Didon, Merna Bonnelame, Gina Balette, Robert David and Jean-Paul d’Offay – in their thanksgiving testimonies and vote of thanks.

Acknowledging that the road to where they are today has not been an easy one, they said to have been chosen to work for the development of their country through the SYLP, which offers an excellent platform for teamwork, study, capacity relationship and character building, was a success in itself.  They are, however, conscious that much remains to be done in order to fulfill their mission.

The thanksgiving ceremony, which centered on the word ‘gratitude’, was of religious character with thanksgiving hymns from the cohort which had for the occasion turned into a choir directed by Robert Moumou, a member of the second cohort. A pastor in real life, Mr Moumou joined Deacon Elizabeth to pray for the success of young leaders whom they said God has chosen to serve people in different responsibilities.

To illustrate gratitude, pastor Moumou chose the story of Jesus healing ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19, and only one, an outcast considered Samaritan, saying thank you.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruits that will last. Everything comes from God and God expects you to be grateful,” was the concluding message of thanksgiving and gratitude from the two pastors.

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