As Christians in Seychelles celebrate the Christmas season, two charitable organisations have brought messages of love, kindness and hope to the most vulnerable people in their communities.
Over the weekend – Paster Lannwit (Street Pastors) and the Victoria branch of Caritas Seychelles – came together to bring Christmas cheer to the homeless and addicts roaming the streets of the island’s capital, Victoria.
Around 30 members of Paster Lannwit with the Seychelles Prison Services choir performed popular Christmas songs at various spots in the capital, while a dozen members of Caritas Seychelles distributed hot meals to the needy.
Caritas Seychelles says the event last Friday attracted around 150 people, most of them drug addicts, and homeless persons with the occasional passers-by on their way home from work. The hot meals of roast chicken, chicken curry, noodles, salad and lentils, were prepared by the members who also bear the cost of the food.
“We try to do this at least once a month to assist those people, who because of substance abuse are now roaming the streets, with no shelter, and not enough to take care of themselves,” said Philippe Wong, a member of Caritas Victoria.
Wong added that the food delivery is followed by counselling, spiritual and moral support, to try and give the destitute persons hope. However, he said not all of them were appreciative.
“Substance abuse is a major problem. We do our best to assist everyone but unfortunately, we are sometimes faced with some people who are arrogant and aggressive. Going into the New Year, we need to relook at this exercise especially the security aspect of our members,” he said. 

Caritas Seychelles helped those in need and assisted with painting of houses. (Irenie Fock-Tave) Photo License: CC-BY 
Caritas Victoria also brought smiles to the faces of the less abled person in their communities by cleaning and painting their houses.
For the Paster Lannwit the Friday’s activity was to bring Christmas cheer to those in need and to show love and support.
Formed five years ago, the group of Christian volunteers roam the streets during the late hours of the night, mostly on Fridays or Saturdays. The group provides support and assistance to those needing a helping hand, support or some spiritual assistance between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
The group’s chairperson, Father Danny Elizabeth, said Christmas is a special time of the year and people should not feel alone and marginalised.
“Christmas is love, peace, kindness, freedom, joy, light and hope. People should not feel loss, despair and marginalised during this time. We do our best to spread this message of love and hope,” he said.
Elizabeth added that Christmas carol in town and counselling were the last activities for the year. The group will be back in January to assist more people, especially those who live in districts on the outskirts of the capital, where they conduct their visits.
This year, Paster Lannwit conducted visits to Mont Fleuri and Perseverance districts.
Elizabeth said their work will be extended to two other districts — Plaisance and Roche Caiman — both known for anti-social activities mostly by young people who are drug addicts and alcoholics.
“There is a cry for help from people in those areas. Families are concerned for their security and we need to double our effort in 2020 to bring some hope to them”, said Elizabeth.
Results of a survey by the National Bureau of Statistics in May found that 4,000 households in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are struggling and cannot afford to pay for basic necessities. 
Source: Seychelles News Agency