A group of 26 volunteers who have come together to form the Sesel Paster Lannwit or Seychelles Night Pastors have received the go ahead to start helping people who roam or live on the streets begging, rummage in bins and harass or annoy visitors and passersby.
A mass during which the group was officially commissioned was held last week at the St Paul’s Cathedral. It was co-presided by bishops Denis Wiehe from the Catholic diocese and James Wong from the Anglican church respectively.
Present at the ceremony to give support to the new volunteer movement were Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports Minister Vincent Meriton, Bishop French Chang-Him, Victoria Howard who is hereon a voluntary working mission to help set up Sesel Paster Lannwit. Her job is to recruit and train volunteers before eventually handing them over to a coordinator before she heads back home in July.
“Seychelles Night Pastors is new to Seychelles but not to the world. It is already operational in countries like Antigua and Barbuda, New Zealand, USA, Jamaica and Kenya,” Ms Howard said.
She added that the group is still looking for volunteers.
“We are still looking for more recruits, especially men who can work at night, and we are looking for more sponsors to come forward and contribute to the cause which is helping destitute, helpless and vulnerable people who for reasons known only to them find themselves on the streets, and to help bring peace to the streets as well,” she added.
To begin the pastors will be going out every Friday in groups of four.
The volunteers would be providing practical support in a non-judgmental manner by approaching, talking, listening to, helping the vulnerable ones and referring them to concerned agencies if there is a need to do so.
The trained Christian volunteers will go out on the streets targeting hot spots like bazaars, popular night events, bars and discotheques.
Baby wipes, kitchen towels, basic first aid kit and condoms are a few of the other useful items they will carry with them.
The managing committee is made up of Father Danny Elizabeth as chairman, Ronald Fock-Tave as vice-chairman, Jules Hoareau, Jean-Claude Matombe and Giovanna Charles as members.
Nearly 200 volunteer forms have already been distributed but very few have been returned so far.
People interested to be part of the Sesel Paster Lannwit can still collect forms from the Anglican diocese secretary’s office in Victoria. They can also be obtained from the Roman Catholic priests, the Anglican clergy and the Pentecostal pastors.
The first patrol took place on Friday May 8 where all the groups went out to introduce themselves to the public and make them aware that Sesel Paster Lannwit will be patrolling the streets and looking out for people in need.