A sanctuary for the health conscious

Nature Seychelles typically hosts tourists, school groups and green yoga members at The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman on a regular basis. However, a visit by members of the Cancer Concern Association (CCA) of Seychelles to the site for a health walk is worthy of note.

The association’s walk on the 17th of December started at Stad Poplier in Victoria and ended at Roche Caiman where the group visited the bird sanctuary, and had a yoga and meditation session at the eco-kiosk located in The Sanctuary.

“One never knows how many people will turn up on such occasions. With some forty participants, we were very pleased and encouraged,” says Bishop French Chang-Him, the CCA Chairman.

“CCA decided on a walk which was not strenuous, seeing that some of our members are under treatment and some have had difficulties with fairly long sponsored walks in the past. The Bird Sanctuary and the facilities for a yoga session at the end were added bonuses. One of the main objectives of CCA is prevention.  Exercise and diet are highlighted in this context” 

 Those who took part in the health walk also had the chance to take part in a yoga session at The Sanctuary

The Cancer Concern Association which has a membership of over 450, was founded in October 1999 with the aim of educating the public on cancer, encouraging lifestyles that reduce the risk of developing cancer, to offer support to cancer patients and their families, offer training to members of the association, and to support cancer research as well as partner with other international bodies working on research.

“Many of the participants in the health walk had never visited the Bird Sanctuary or taken part in yoga before. We felt really blessed in so many ways - by the turn out and the wide age groups. Many of those who participated were not necessarily members of CCA.” says Bp. French.

“We were able to see first-hand conservation work which is especially important for the very young and school children, the custodians of nature both in the present and future - bird sanctuary, mangrove swamps, growing of vegetables, preserving and developing the eco-system - all being done next door to the national sports complex, unbeknownst to majority of our people,” Bp. French added.

 The next generation of nature champions

When Nature Seychelles took over the management of The Sanctuary, the only managed urban wetland in the Seychelles, the site was systematically repurposed to maximise its value for wildlife and for the people who would come to visit the site either for bird watching, school groups for science classes or wildlife club activities. Later, under the Green Health program, the Heritage (organic) Garden was created as a demonstration for Seychellois to grow their own food or medicinal plants.

It is also under the Green Health program that green yoga was started and the Eco-Kiosk built so that people can practise surrounded by the beautiful vistas of the natural environment that Seychelles is famous for.

“It is wonderful to see The Sanctuary being used by such an association to highlight health issues in the Seychelles,” says Dr Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles CEO who also noted the increasing body of international research which shows the healing properties of exposure to nature and which Nature Seychelles has used in its Green Health program. “Although we do not open on Saturdays, we felt that this was an important event and made special arrangements for CCA to use the premises. After all, the site is not only a sanctuary for wildlife, but importantly as in this case, to encourage people to connect with nature.” 

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