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Order of Malta donates €35,000 for Farm of Hope in Seychelles 

Victoria, Seychelles | April 11, 2024, Thursday @ 16:08 in National » GENERAL | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3333
Order of Malta donates €35,000 for Farm of Hope in Seychelles 

Bishop Alain Harel received the cheque from the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Seychelles, Alexandra Azaïs. (Seychelles Nation)

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Victoria has received a donation of €35,000 from the Order of Malta to launch a new drug rehabilitation programme in Seychelles called the Farm of Hope in the western Mahe district of Port Glaud.

Bishop Alain Harel received the cheque from the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Seychelles, Alexandra Azaïs, on Thursday, the first such donation made to the project that will last for one year and will be free of charge.

The Farm of Hope is a therapeutic community for people with drug addiction problems founded in Brazil. It has already established 150 communities in the world and in the region.  They are found in Mozambique, Kenya,  South Africa and other African countries.

Harel told reporters that the rehabilitation centre will work to treat addicts using socialisation and spiritual aspects.

"It will not only be open to those from the Roman Catholic faith, but to anyone who is addicted to substances like alcohol and drugs who voluntarily want to stop using them", he explained.

Harel revealed that initially "the programme will only be taking in men, although as it progresses and we build the proper infrastructures, we will also work with women and girls."

On her side, Azaïs explained that it was through the fundraising efforts of Roberto Purini and Marios Fotiadis, both counsellors at the embassy, that the donation became a reality.

She explained that "since one of the major issues in Seychelles is the addiction of about 10 percent of the population, the embassy made the donation as one the duties of the Order of Malta is to bring relief where there are our brothers and sisters in struggle."

Stressing that due to the scourge, the youths in Seychelles "cannot grow anymore in a positive environment and are physically and mentally destroyed. They have no future and this is a big social problem," said Azaïs.

The setting up of such a community in Seychelles was proposed by Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Tomasz Grysa, last year during discussions with the Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan, which revolved around addressing social ills such as drug abuse and drug trafficking.

This method, which has proven to be effective and successful, was initiated by the Roman Catholic mission in the Diocese of Brazil, in the early 1980s, helping many addicts to recover from addiction and to be reintegrated into society.

In August of last year, a Roman Catholic delegation came to present the idea of having the rehabilitation centre in Seychelles as a holistic way of treating addicts.

The facility of around four hectares will be run by a Brazilian expert in the domain, who is due to arrive in the country soon.

However, the farm will also be collaborating with Centre d'Accueil de La Rosière (CAR) - another Catholic rehabilitation centre in Seychelles established in 2009, and other authorities concerned with social and family aspects.

"We are expecting some 16 people to join the farm in the initial stages," said Harel.

He stressed that they are now in the process of looking for help from both governmental and private bodies to assist them in building the infrastructures needed to run the farm.

"We are only looking for initial help to build the infrastructures, once up and running the Farm of Hope will be able to sustain itself through what is produced at the farm," he added.

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Tags: Farm of Hope, Order of Malta, Roman Catholic Diocese, Centre d'Accueil de La Rosière

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