Launch of Orange Day campaign for domestic violence prevention |26 May 2023
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family has launched the official campaign against domestic violence in an effort to empower the younger generation to be responsible citizens, in preparation for their future family.
The first session yesterday morning at the Seychelles National Youth Council training room, Orion Mall, targeted boys and girls around the age of 17 and 18 from different post-secondary institutions namely the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS), the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (SITE), the Seychelles Institute of Technology (SIT) and the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA).
The session was to create awareness about the need for women and men to better understand each other, create better living space and environment as cohabiting partners in the future.
In her opening statement, the Minister for Youth, Sports and Family, Marie-Celine Zialor, expressed her gratitude towards the students and the speakers of the session, for engaging in domestic violence awareness and prevention.
Referring to the national theme for 2023, ‘Annou viv pli byen dan larmoni ansanm’, the minister shared that a gender neutral environment has been chosen to conduct the half-day session with the students from different professional centres who at this point in their lives are reaching maturity and who will be seeking to form intimate relationships.
“We are all depending on you to become good parents tomorrow and there would be no cases of child abuse which is tearing our hearts today, and the abuse often starts with domestic violence,” noted Minister Zialor.
She explained that the 25th of each month is dubbed Orange Day, and is dedicated towards condemning and fighting domestic violence. The ministry was therefore targeting a wider group of population throughout the year.
“There are twelve months in a year and I am sure with twelve campaigns we can touch a great number of the population to fight against the social ill of domestic violence, which has a negative impact in our society by affecting many families,” said the minister.
However, she said the population should not wait only on the occasion to promote and enforce the campaign. That is why the Family department was intensifying its programmes such as, ‘Mon Fanmir I Mon Leker’, and also stressing on prevention, education and programmes that relates to advocacy and empowerment for the general public, starting with young boys and girls on a regular basis.
Minister Zialor mentioned that her ministry was also aiming to decentralise some aspects of the Family department and their agenda must run continuously to reach their goal.
During the event she also expressed her solidarity with the family of three-year-old Angelique, who died on May 16. “The tragic incident reflects our society today, which is why we are greatly motivated to push forward with the Orange Day campaign,” said Minister Zialor.
Seychelles NATION sought the views of some of the participants and one of them was third year NIHSS student, Shaheem Mondon, who felt there was a lot of good information that will be useful to raise awareness on domestic violence and the need for prevention.
“We have to share what we have learned today to our school, homes and our community, so that our society could realise how damaging these social ills are,” said Shaheem.
He added that the campaign has much relevance and will help many who are facing such hardships.
“Many come from different households but are experiencing the same abuse, so I believe this campaign will have much influence in making a real difference,” said the NIHSS student.
As a peer educator, Fabiana Belise, who is currently doing her diploma in information systems engineering at the SIT, believes that the session has offered her the know-how to deal with such incident and guide her peers who are probably facing these issues.
“During the debate on dating violent partners, I have gained information on how to identify red flags,” she said.
Tyler Fred, who is studying fisheries science at the SMA, proposed that such a programme should take place monthly, whereby they could continuously share their thoughts and views on benefits and actions needed to fight domestic violence.
“The session was very informative and engaging that I look forward to share what we learned and will appreciate if I could participate in another session,” he stated.
The students were very interactive with speaker Elanor Shaphenberg who spoke on the role of girls and boys in the society. Why are we here? Who are we? were among the first questions asked to the participants but the most pertinent one raised by Ms Shaphenberg was how can a teenage boy get a positive reaction from a teenage girl. The goal of these questions was to debate on how the participants see the behaviour between boys and girls in today’s society. Many answers for the last question were hailed from both genders as they both felt that a respectful approach and good behaviour would trigger a positive reaction from the females.
The other presentation was ‘Dating violence: looking out for red flags’ by Elsa Nourrice, who highlighted how to identify an unhealthy relationship, as well as the different types of abuse. Domestic violence remains a national challenge and through the Orange Day campaign the organisers and the participants are hopeful they will reach the hearts and mind of the Seychellois population.
Text & photos by Neil Sirame