One hundred Seychellois schoolchildren will be the recipients of bursaries donated by the Archbishop Makarios Foundation following a ceremony on Friday.
The foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, as one of the oldest charities in Seychelles.
In a ceremony at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters at Mont Fleuri, the foundation’s chairperson, Chief Justice Rony Govinden, handed the ceremonial cheque of SCR100,00 ($7,300) over to the Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin.
The Makarios Trust Fund, today known as the Archbishop Makarios Foundation of Seychelles, was founded in 1973 and gives schoolchildren in need bursaries through the Ministry of Education annually.
Through this collaboration, the ministry selects students from the state primary and secondary schools during the first term of the school year for the committee to assess and select from.
So far over 3,600 students have received bursaries since the fund was created, with an average of over 200 awards annually in recent years.
The chairperson said: “It is our intention to do this as often as it takes, and as often as our investment permits and we wish that those students make good use of these monies so that they invest in their future in the educational needs and their social needs.”
He added that this especially applied to the students’ guardians who are the prime handlers of the money.
“The Makarios Foundation set up by Makarios III of Cyprus epitomises what is best in us; strong moral fortitude to do good, to give to the needy inspires us,” added Govinden, who appealed to those who can donate to the Foundation.
He added that it also works in developing strong relations with Cyprus, a faithful partner of Seychelles.
A new website for the foundation was presented, where information concerning donations can be found on www.archbishopmakarios.com .
Special mention was made of the late honorary consul for Cyprus in Seychelles, Panos Papakokkinos, who played a great role in the charitable organisation, as well as Archbishop French Chang-Him of the Anglican Church, who is the longest serving member of the foundation’s board.
Minister Valentin thanked the foundation for the bursaries and said that since his ministry cannot do it alone, it welcomed all the help it could from such initiatives.
“This is an old foundation and I know people who are close to me who benefited from such donations, so I hope that the children who receive the bursaries today can receive the donations with a big heart,” he said.
The charitable organisation was created by Cypriot Orthodox Archbishop Makarios III, following his exile in the island nation in the western Indian Ocean from March 14, 1956, until April 5, 1957.
Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus during his stay in Seychelles at Sans Soucis (Makarios in Exile: Captain P.S. Le Geyt) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
As Cyprus was under British colonial rule at the time, the latter had exiled Archbishop Makarios to Seychelles as he was fighting for his country’s independence.
Over the years, the fund has supported many Seychellois school children, such as Linda Rosalie – a former chief editor of the newsroom of the national broadcaster, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation.
Rosalie was attending the School of Humanities and Science at Anse Royale on the main island of Mahe in 1987, when she received the grant to pay for her accommodation. Roselie –originally from La Digue, the third most inhabited island in the archipelago – had to live on Mahe to continue with her studies.
Another recipient of the bursary is Flavien Joubert, former head of the Seychelles Tourism Academy, who at the age of 16 got a scholarship from the Seychelles government offered by Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus in 1973. Through the scholarship, he attended the Hotel and Catering Institute, a prestigious boarding school located in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, for a five-year course in hospitality.