Seminar shows children dangers hiding in alcohol


Mrs Mondon addressing guests and students at the opening of the symposium

They did so in a symposium organised by the Ministry of Education at the Seychelles Trading Company’s conference room as a step to try and boost children’s education on the many ways alcohol can affect their lives and easily cause death.

Speakers included Bruce Bursik from the Seychelles police who explained to the mainly peer educators that anti-alcohol abuse laws are meant to protect them.
He showed them examples of dangers people who get drunk expose themselves and others to, for example accidents in vehicles, but also explained even roller skates and bicycles are dangerous if used by people under the influence of alcohol.

Dr Daniella Malulu showed them the medical complications which follow alcohol abuse, telling the students that alcohol blocks their brains’ ability to develop, thus affecting their ability to learn new things or remember even what a person did the previous night.

Other speakers showed them how bad people like thieves and pick pockets take advantage of those who get drunk, adding after the initial stage of being intoxicated people then pass out and many die, making alcohol the cause of 90% of all unnatural deaths.

Mr Bursik gave them examples of people the police see on surveillance cameras being taken advantage of when they are drunk, adding in a recent case a man’s pockets were emptied by thieves as he lay helplessly drunk in a public place.

The students worked in groups and came up with suggestions of their own, and some later told Nation they expect their schools to organise meetings so that they can pass on the important information they learned to their school mates.

Students working in groups

Addressing them when opening the symposium, Education Minister Macsuzy Mondon said the social renaissance programme provides a platform from which we can view the issues that are having a negative impact on our youth so that, together, we can try to find solutions to turn the situation around for the better.

“We have good reasons to be alarmed because alcohol use by minors is a major public health problem and our school-aged children are increasingly being targeted by unscrupulous grown-ups who will stop at nothing to make a profit, even if it means destroying a child,” she said.

“Today our educational institutions, families and society as a whole are being challenged by a social ill that is on the increase and that is alcohol consumption by minors, commonly referred to as underage drinking, meaning consumption of alcoholic beverages by anyone below the minimum legal age for consumption of alcohol,” she said.

“Underage drinking is now unquestionably an alarming problem among youth in Seychelles and a serious threat to many adolescents, who do not realise the detrimental effects that alcohol can have on their developing body, on their health, their families and on their future,” said the minister.

She said we have to reflect seriously on what we need to do in order to get positive results and the meeting was an opportunity to remind those present, and the youth in particular, about the consequences of underage drinking as it is now well known that youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience school problems, such as higher absence rates and poor or failing grades, social problems, such as fighting and not taking part in youth activities, memory problems as well as legal problems, such as being arrested for driving or for hurting someone while drunk.

Mrs Mondon also talked of the physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses the young people experience along with disruption of normal growth and poor sexual development along with the risks of being physically and sexually assaulted.

She told them about the changes in brain development that may have life-long effects and the risk of
death from alcohol-related car crashes or from alcohol poisoning.

“Even if the majority of underage drinkers do not die from alcohol abuse, the combination of these problems has a major impact on their studies and their lives,” she said.