Children of La Digue help create medicinal garden

Children’s Day was an occasion of happy celebrations for the children of La Digue, as the School held an open day with games and music*. The occasion was also marked by the official opening of a medicinal plant heritage garden for the school. The garden has been established to protect knowledge and maintain awareness of the traditional uses and value of the wonderful range of medicinal plants in Seychelles.

The project has been coordinated by the Vev Wildlife Club leader Jocelyn Charlette, who teaches art at the School. Oresten Rose and Dan Rose volunteered their carpentry and handyman skills to help create the infrastructure for the garden, which is in a section of the school grounds. Children of different ages have been involved in creating the garden.

‘The plants have been brought in by children who are in the Wildlife Club,’ explains Mr Charlette. ‘The garden has been constructed over the last few weeks with the help of the children of the school, and with advice from Mme Catherine Moise, a La Digue resident who has a great knowledge and understanding of the herbal and medicinal uses of plants’.

Club leader and member planting medicinal plants for the Center © C. Jameson

School Head Teacher Lauria Joseph congratulated everyone involved in the creation of the garden as she cut the ribbon to officially declare it open. Christine Dora – secondary school teacher and leader of the Terrapin Wildlife Club - helped one young club member to plant a tree as part of the ceremony.

Conor Jameson, representing Nature Seychelles and Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles, echoed the congratulations. ‘This garden is important not just for the conservation of plants,’ he said, ‘It is also about the conservation of Seychelles traditions - knowledge, history and culture.’

The garden will be looked after and the plants nurtured by children from the Wildlife Clubs. Club members will work with leaders to produce a new booklet that identifies and explains the uses of the different plants. Another project is also in the pipeline, to create a traditional Kreole house in the school grounds, thatched with palm fronds, which the clubs can use as their meeting place.

The La Digue School garden is part of a wider project initiated by Nature Seychelles and the Wildlife Clubs. There are medicinal heritage gardens in development in other schools, and at Roche Caiman Environment and Education Centre a plant nursery is being created that will act as a focal point for the project, providing not only plants, but advice on cultivation to schools and clubs.

Published on Regar Weekly Newspaper, Seychelles, 4th August 2005

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