» The History
James Michel, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, met with a group of thirteen young people in 2007, and spoke to them about the ideas they had to contribute to society. He sensed their desire to make a difference, to help others, noticing their talents to become youth leaders, to volunteer to help the vulnerable in society; young people with ambitions to help Seychellois society as well as develop the talents of the youth.
Inspired by their enthusiasm, he asked them to get themselves organized, to put their ideas on paper, chart their dreams into practical programmes and set up a foundation, which he would support as their patron, and which would be open to all youth of Seychelles.
This marked the birth of the Jj Spirit Foundation and the doors of its office at Oceangate House opened on 14 May 2008. Veronique Francourt was the first member to join the Foundation.
Since the first day, President Michel, spearheaded the motto “Responsible, Resilient, Realistic” as the driving force of this new youth organisation
The first Chairperson was Jean-Paul Adam, Vice-Chair was Lise Bastienne and the Executive Director was Marcus Volcy.
President Michel officially launched the Foundation on 14th February 2009 during a ceremony at the International Conference Centre.
In 2009 the Jj Spirit Foundation started a national singing competition called ‘Sesel i annan talan’ (Seychelles has got talent), which was launched as an association, with its own financial and organizational structure. The first competition was held on 18th July 2009.
In 2011, Lise Bastienne became the Chairperson. In the subsequent years the post of Executive Director were held by Steve Pointe, Ivy Edmond, Eddy Charles and Marymonde Matatiken. Today the CEO is Ms. Idith Alexander.
In June 2012, members of the Jj Spirit Foundation entered their song video ‘Respect for Life’ in the Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest, a global competition for young people organised by the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges. They won 5th place globally, and 1st place for Africa.
One of the greatest achievements of the foundation is the building of the Espace complex which opened in 2014, giving opportunities for new businesses to flourish, providing the headquarters of the foundation, training venues, open air music venue as well as ensuring the future of the foundation, by generating revenue from rental of office and shop space, for the funding of its projects.
The Foundation has a profound impact on Seychellois society in so many ways. It opened the doors for the youth to have an new avenue for opportunities to develop and to make their dreams a reality. The Foundation has helped hundreds of young people with funding their enterprises through soft loans. It also awarded a great number of youth with scholarships and many have entered into jobs they dreamed of having, after they had missed an opportunity for training and education when they didn’t achieve the necessary grades for state funding. But their determination to succeed in their chosen careers, mean that they worked hard and made it happen.
In the past the Jj Spirit Foundation has assisted many young people facing difficulties in life, through acts of compassion and donations of funds or equipment.
There are many areas of concern where the Foundation has helped those in need. These include;
- Urgent overseas medical care
- New furniture and other goods, following a disaster (flooding, fire etc)
- Equipment for the disabled
- ‘Make a wish come true’ for those who are terminally ill
- Financial assistance to underprivileged children
For example, the Foundation helped a young man Aaron Humphrey, 23, who had a motorcycle accident in July 2013. Doctors in Seychelles and Mauritius had pronounced that his leg had to be amputated.
Aaron, a member of the Foundation, asked for help to find an alternative medical option, and the Foundation helped him find a hospital and funded a delicate surgery, which involved bone grafting for him at Mayotte Hospital in Chennai, India - giving him a new lease on life.