Pilot holiday programme attracts more than 200 children


During the August-September holidays the newly created Ministry of Family Affairs was assigned by the President’s Office the task of initiating a pilot holiday programme.

This pilot programme, funded by the Children’s Fund, consisted of numerous holiday camps which were set up in various parts of the country.

The primary aim was to provide parents with a safe place to keep their children while they were at work.

In an interview with the press Marie-Josée Bonne, the principal secretary for family affairs, elaborated further: “We realised during the holiday periods that it was very difficult for some parents to know where to place their children. Through this programme, we targeted some specific groups to cater to the needs of these parents.”

The programmes and activities were however not conducted by the ministry but, rather, were outsourced to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other interested volunteers with the ministry acting as the coordinator and evaluator.

The NGOs ran free daily activities such as photography classes, traditional dances and field trips. They also provided snacks and lunch, without charge.

Linda Philoe, one of the facilitators whose camp was located at the English River crèche, gave an optimistic compte rendu of these past four weeks:

“It was a very good experience. I felt that our group of facilitators managed to impart certain values in the children and perfectly managed to deal with challenging situations,” she stated.

It is the fourth time that Ms Philoe, under the banner of Family Action Team of Mont Buxton, organises these holiday camps. The three previous ones were done without much support and funding, culminating into a lot of struggles.

Back then she was charging R75 per week but certain parents were not adhering to the payments.

With the help from the Ministry of Family Affairs they were able to better cater for children under their care. “We look forward to building on these experiences for the December holidays with the continued support of Family Affairs,” Mrs Philoe concluded.

Everyone involved in the various holiday camps have stressed that for them to continue, funding and resources are critical.

However the Ministry of Family Affairs on its part is still unsure if the pilot programme will result into a second and further trial as it will have to firstly go under evaluation.

“It’s an experimentation that we are doing at the Family Affairs,” said PS Bonne. “We have monitored these NGOs and their activities to later write up a report for the authorities concerned.”

The holiday initiatives, which drew to a close last week, involved the participation of over two hundred children who would otherwise have stayed at home bored or gotten involved in anti social behaviour.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of the various camps both on Mahé and on Praslin.



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