The children visiting their parents at the Montagne Poseé main prison in the Seychelles can now have a more conducive place with the opening of the playground, which is Miss Seychelles…another world 2015 Linne Freminot’s beauty with a purpose project.
The playground was officially opened a few days prior to Miss Freminot’s departure to Miss World 2015 which will be held in Sanya, China on December 19.
Present at the official ceremony were the Designated Minister Vincent Meriton, Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange, Minister for Home Affairs Charles Bastienne, principal secretary for tourism Anne Lafortune, chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Marco Francis, deputy chief executive Nathalie Didon, superintendent of the prison Maxime Tirant and other staff, inmates, children and members of the local press.
Miss Freminot described this auspicious occasion as a dream come true for her, the children and the inmates.
The construction of this playground as well as the toys has been fully funded by Vijay Construction (Pty) Ltd.
Minister St.Ange said it is a clear day of success when somebody has an idea and we work together to make it become a reality.
“It is good to see that when people do rally together we can surely make a difference. I salute Miss Seychelles and thank Mr Vijay Patel and his team for making this a reality,” Minister St.Ange said before adding that this playground means a lot to the community as now the children can now spend time with their parents in a friendlier environment.
Speaking before officially opening the playground, the beauty queen said Playground for Hope has been a project which has inspired many.
“I myself since a contestant I was inspired by the work of Reverend Jonathan Clayton, throughout his restoration project he helped to established the power of forgiveness between inmates and victims. Today will be a day I will always remember. A day I made a difference in the lives of children as well as parents,” she said with tears in her eyes.
“With the help of the Seychelles Tourism Board, the SCCI and also staff at the prison, we were able gather as much support. Vijay Construction company was one of the sponsors that SCCI introduced my project to.”
She also echoed words of help to the three ministers present, the Seychelles Tourism Board, SCCI and the Sustainability for Seychelles organisation.
“To me this project that has finally turn into reality means a whole lot more. It is a means of enhancing family bond, a project which shows that love has no boundaries, and that inmates are people with families whom I feel should have some quality time to spend with their kids,” she added.
Mrs Didon on her part said the Seychelles Tourism Board hopes that this playground is destined to become an important addition to life in the prison from which the children and parents will benefit.
“I would like to thank Mr Vijay Patel for his vision and generosity in sponsoring this valuable facility and also the superintendent for facilitating its construction as well as to all the other unsung heroes associated with its creation. All who have supported Miss Seychelles in one way or another, thank you.
Superintendent Tirant said prison is a place where people who have offended against society come as a punishment for their deeds. But very few of us have taken the time to think about the children who are also punished in this process.
“Those children have done nothing wrong, they have offended no one, yet they carry a very heavy punishment of living without mummy or daddy. Then comes the hard part of coming to Montagne Posée to see mummy and daddy,” he said.
“The prison is no ideal place for children and as Superintendent of Prison it saddens me to see those innocent children go into the actual prison to see where mummy or daddy is living; to see the sadness in their eyes as they leave this place and knowing that this experience will stay with them as they go through their childhood. But today this prison gets a second face in those little eyes. It is a place where mummy and daddy can bond together.”
The director of Vijay Construction Foram Varsani said Mr Patel has at heart the development of the children and hopes that this playground will make a difference in the lives of the inmates and their children.