Education ministry team up with Hilton Labriz Silhouette for second children’s conference |20 November 2023
Sixty-six (66) students from public and private secondary and post-secondary learning institutions across the country were on Silhouette on Saturday to take part in the second children's conference organised by the Ministry of Education and Hilton Labriz Silhouette to commemorate Universal Children’s Day, today.
The conference for the higher learners held at Hilton Labriz Silhouette was attended by two students and a teacher from each of the learning institutions including those from the School for the Exceptional Child and the School for the Deaf of Seychelles.
They were chosen for their participation in various activities including the youth summit, the Padel tennis competition and eco-school clubs, among others.
Also present at the event was education minister, Dr Justin Valentin; the principal secretary for Educational Services, Merna Eulentin; the principal secretary for Education Sector Development, John Lesperance; Hilton Seychelles’ country general manager, Andre Borg; and other senior officials and staff of the ministry and of Hilton Labriz.
The aim of the conference, under the theme ‘Growing and Flourishing Healthily’, was to get the students to engage in discussions on their eating habits, considering the high rate of obesity among school children, and to participate in various activities related to sustainable tourism and environment, such as sports and cultural activities.
It was also a chance to discover the hotel and its environment and learn about the history and geography of Silhouette.
The students left the jetty at Labriz Gastrolounge, Bel Ombre, at 8am and upon arrival on Silhouette, proceeded to the iconic house, ‘Grann Kaz’, La Passe, were they were welcomed by Minister Valentin and Mr Borg. After light refreshment, they headed to Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa for the conference and other activities planned for the day in collaboration with the Island Conservation Society (ICS).
Delivering the keynote address, youth ambassador for health, Analda Ernesta from Pointe Larue secondary school, said that more emphasis should be placed on the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle to prevent obesity among school children.
She added that engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet and getting sufficient rest, were critical for overall wellness.
“By making mindful choices, such as consuming locally sourced food, reducing food waste, and supporting sustainable farming practices, we can contribute to a healthier planet while also benefiting our well-being,” said Analda, who encouraged everyone to prioritise their health, be mindful of their choices, and strive for sustainability.
“Let us embrace the challenge of obesity with determination, compassion, and a shared commitment to building a healthier future for ourselves and generations to come,” she added.
After welcome remarks and words of encouragement from Minister Valentin and Mr Borg, the conference kicked off with a zumba session on the tennis court, followed by the first talking session by nutritionist technician, Juanne Freminot, on healthy eating habits. The students were then divided into groups for the various activities, which included teaching of sign language by students from the School for the Deaf.
Tourism-related activities included a visit to discover the hotel’s sustainability practices, mocktail making, towel art and napkin folding. With regard to the environment, participants carried out various activities including planting of over 30 palm trees in the hotel compound, learning about the morphology of tortoise, turtle track count, beach clean-up at the jetty, sorting of waste, endemic trail visit, bird watching, mangrove identification, as well as visit to Dauban museum and the cemetery among other sites to learn about the history and geography of Silhouette. The students also took part in sporting competitions such as football, volleyball, table tennis, padel tennis and a mini-marathon.
All the students who spoke to Seychelles NATION said such conference should continue in the future and should be on a regular basis as it was very interesting and informative.
They expressed their amazement at Silhouette’s beauty, and their heartfelt thanks to everyone who made their trip possible. For all of them, it was their first time on Silhouette.
“I have enjoyed myself very much. I took part in many activities and also ran in the marathon. I have learned many things such as towel art and napkin folding. It was a very good experience. The island is beautiful, the hotel is nice and I enjoyed the food very much,” said 17-year-old deaf student, Samuel Morel.
“The conference was very well orgaised. I participated in some activities and learned many things, especially about Silhouette, which is a topic we are learning about in school. I have made a few friends and I think it should be held more often. The island is really beautiful, the hotel is very nice and the food was good,” said 15-year-old Daina William from Grand Anse Praslin secondary school.
At the end of the conference, Minister Valentin thanked the participants for its success and Hilton for its continued support.
For his part, Mr Borg reiterated that the hotel was at the disposal of any learning institution wishing to visit and learn about the island. The conference ended with a traditional cultural performance by students who attended a traditional cultural workshop for the day. It also included a Tom and Jerry mime performance by Samuel Morel and his colleague Mael Bacco.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the event.
Text & photos by Patrick Joubert