Developing policies, programmes and services that are better suited for the situations and needs of families in Seychelles is the goal of a profiling exercise that the Ministry for Youth, Sports and Family plans to undertake.
Minister Marie Celine Zialor, who is responsible for the portfolio of family affairs, said there is not enough information about Seychellois families. “Not only just for statistics to know how many children but a true profile to see and paint true profiles of the realities out there. What is happening for us to be able to get people away from depending on the system and push them towards creating their opportunities,” explained Zialor. The minister added that the exercise will result in support for transformations of Seychellois families, from a culture of being victims to where they dictate what kind of life they want and that the government becomes a facilitator in this process. According to Zialor, in a few months’ times, staff from her ministry will start profiling families with elderly persons and those living with a disability. That project has been assisted by information from the Ministry for Local Government. The Health Ministry will also be a close partner for this exercise as the Ministry can provide information such as the number of children with special needs or conditions such as autism. “This will be done in the coming months. We are doing some recruiting and some restructuring for this. We also have a division that does population studies and we need to go on-site for this as this will be like a census,” explained the minister. Focus group discussions with specific groups such as those with disabled and elderly persons will also be another way of collecting data for this exercise. Zialor added that there is already some information but it is fragmented. According to the minister, data collected and the profiling of families will ensure that the “one-size-fits-all approach” where there are services for only one group of people is put aside. Lynn Betsy, who has a son who suffers from dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has welcomed this exercise saying that will lead to much-needed support as for now being a parent with a special needs child she gets limited help from health and education. “As my son cannot read and count as you and I can, it would be great to have for instance a dedicated service which can assist him, as I can do only so much towards his development,” said Betsy. The minister said she wants to see the Ministry “transform and improve the quality of life of our families. A complete transformation from children up to the elderly so that we get the quality of life for all groups of people in Seychelles.” According to the National Bureau of Statistics to date, there are over 30,000 households in the Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.