Tag Archives: health

Social Conscience: Nature Seychelles wins Educational Entrepreneurship award

The award was won for the Green Health Programme

About 15 years ago I found a book in my fathers huge library. It was called  “Voluntary Action” by a man called Beveridge and was published way back in 1948.  He launched a visionary mission that  changed  the world  because he saw  voluntary action as “private enterprise, not in business, but in the service of mankind, not for gain but under the driving power of social conscience

Three aspects of this struck me then and drove me to work for NGOs (non-governmental organizations) on a full basis:  Social power: the ability to change things in ways small and large which NGOs embody. Social conscience: the sense of responsibility for right and wrong in our society. Social Entrepreneurship: the establishment of business principles in civil society organizations but not for-personal gain.

The difference today compared to 1948 is that heroic leaders of NGOs no longer    seem to be swimming against the tide of history as Beveridge saw it. The ‘driving power of social conscience’ is once again I think at the heart of our society. And what is termed as social entrepreneurship is the engine of this social conscience ensuring that we are not only dealing in words but also action in a sustainable and long term manner.

The award that Nature Seychelles has recently won embodies the spirit of social entrepreneurship – not for personal profit but for the direct benefit of the society. Nature Seychelles has been recognized as the organization with the most entrepreneurial approach to education in Seychelles in 2011 winning the country award for the Educating Africa Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education for 2011.

Over 350 entries from all over Africa were received by the organizers, Educating Africa and Teach a Man to Fish. This unique competition identifies and celebrates the achievements of social entrepreneurs who understand the role education can play within their communities. Nature Seychelles was invited to enter its Green Health Programme, which teaches people to connect with nature through wellness and healthy lifestyles in natural surroundings. The same programme won the International Innovation Prize from the World Leisure Organization not too long ago.

I believe that the best way to promote protection of the environment is to get people to value nature. I have been involved in implementing environmental programs that provide values of one kind or another to various groups over the years. Recently we have focused on linking nature to people’s physical and mental well being. Once again we have won an international award for these efforts.

Nirmal Shah

This post first appeared in the author’s column in The People


Heritage Garden: Sharing nature and its healing power

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of showing visitors from the Regional Home for the Elderly at North East Point, Mahe, around the Heritage Garden next to our centre at Roche Caiman.

The home is a residential facility that provides care for the elderly. Caregivers at the home engage the residents in a number of therapeutic activities. One of them is gardening. They say gardening provides much needed relaxation and improves physical and mental health.

The home has therefore been very interested in our garden and plans are underway to help them create their own. The visitors engaged Lucina, our plant expert, in a steady stream of dialogue, asking about the benefits of various plants. Yesterday’s visit helped to identify different plants they would like to have.

Lucina told me later that one of the objectives of the garden is to rescue plants grown by older generations of Seychellois and use them once again in traditional ways. Many Seychellois have grown up around gardens. What a pleasure then it was to re-connect gardening with some of its friends.

About the Heritage Garden:

This demonstration Heritage Garden© at Roche Caiman has been designed by Nature Seychelles as a model to be replicated by Wildlife Clubs in schools and by the community at home. Not only do we collect plant species that are richly filled with historical value for propagation in the school- based clubs as well as to the adjoining communities, we also collect and collate their stories. We promote the use and value-adding of plants through exhibitions and learning programs. We encourage young volunteers to work with us in this Garden to gain skills and knowledge. We open up this Garden to the public to enthuse and excite people.