November – A blending and bonding month at President’s Village

The month of November was an exciting one for the residents of the President’s Village as it provided them with an opportunity to meet with new people and reconnect with those they have not seen due to Covid-19. The first week of the month provided the perfect opportunity to meet new people when staff and the children of the Village hosted a one-day activity on the premises to coincide with the end of the Creole Festival.

To prepare for the activity, the children aged between 3 to 17 years old, participated in art and crafts workshops, in which they learnt how to create traditional items, games and how to cook different Creole dishes. These were on display during the one-day activity, which was open to all the partners of NCC and the Village. The day ended with a display of traditional songs, folkloric dances and traditional food. ‘The activity, provided an ideal setting for our partners to interact with the children and staff and get to know them more,’ says Mrs Yasmin Umarji, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Council for Children.

Although this was a joyous event, the month would not have ended on a happy note had the children not reconnect with their relatives after months of limited or no physical contact. ‘The decision to invite all the parents on the premises was made as a result of increased requests from the children,’ says Ms Brigitte Balette, the Manager of President’s Village, who adds that such visits had been restricted for almost the whole year due to health control measures. In spite of these restrictions, some parents and relatives continued to call their children, write letters, or simply send little gifts every now and then.

Organised with the Department of Social Affairs who has joint custody of the children, the activity that spanned over two weekends, encouraged parents and relatives to visit their children and spend the day talking, playing, sharing meals and discussing their progress with the Child Support Officers (CSO). ‘It was good to see the expressions on their children’s faces after such a long time’, said Ms Balette. ‘Although parents are able to visit their children at the facility by seeking permission from Social Affairs, sadly many choose to stay away which results in some children displaying unpleasant behaviour because they feel unloved and let down by their family.’

Having been reassured of the support of their relatives and the collaborators of NCC, the residents of the President’s village is now gearing up for the festive season.