IMPORTANT: This fundraiser is being done in support of the La Digue community in Seychelles, widely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that the examples used are based on true life-events however the names marked with an Asterix (*) has been changed.
It’s been almost a year since the first few cases of COVID-19 hit the small island nation which led to a series of lockdowns, airport closure, and tourists’ numbers going down to the very minimum. Out of the three main islands of Seychelles, La Digue has been the most affected since 90% of its businesses are tourism related.
Laura* is a single mother of two who works as a receptionist with a small hotel on La Digue. She was receiving 80% of her salary but by end of March will be reduced to half, equaling to 6500SCR (225GBP). Laura* has a monthly loan repayment of 5000 SCR which will not receive a moratorium on repayment and in the end is left with 1500SCR (50GBP) to spend for three heads, utilities and food for a month.
Meanwhile, Henry* owns a small souvenir shop that has been closed since March last year. The shop opened up briefly in August since some tourists were present on the island, however had to close again due to travel restrictions from abroad. Henry was receiving 5850SCR (200GBP) as financial assistance from the government, but that will be discontinued by end of March. Like Laura and Henry, many locals on La Digue are facing hard times due to lack of revenue and increased price of living.
La Digue is part of the Seychelles, a small group of islands, off the northeastern coast of Madagascar, circled by clear turquoise water and home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It has a population of around three thousand people, whose livelihood depend on tourism. Most families or individuals own a small tourism business, be it guesthouses, souvenir shops, boat charters, bicycle hirer or beach bars to name a few. The others are directly or indirectly linked to these businesses through employment, apprenticeship programs or suppliers of products such as seafood, locally grown fruits / vegetables or artwork.
The Seychelles government was helping some of these businesses through a “Financial Assistance for Job Retention” (FA4JR) scheme, however, it will be discontinued by the end of March, due a huge deficit in the country’s revenue and financial inability to continue. Many locals were already experiencing the hardship as they were already living on the bare minimum; a fixed monthly payment of SCR5,804 (200GBP) for self-employed individuals and 50% assistance of the initial amount of last year for those who had employees. With the assistance being cut-off by end of March and an uncertain future, these people are left with nothing but the hope that things will get better, and tourists will start coming in soon.
Since January 10th, the country is on a track to vaccinate over 70% of its over 18 population in order to create herd immunity and declare Seychelles COVID-safe and on March 25th will open up its airport to all visitors from around the world regardless of vaccination status. However, it does not guarantee that there will be visitors any time soon, given the ongoing travel restrictions in other countries and most visitors postponing their trips to next year. As a result, a lot of businesses on La Digue will not be able to survive some more months, where they will have to permanently close down and some will further lay-off employees.
AIM OF THIS FUNDRAISER
Given the financial problems that many in the community are facing and the more hardship to come, the goal of this fundraiser is not solely to accept donations, but in exchange offer gifts and services from some of these businesses as rewards. This will help them get small financial boost, in efforts to slowly recover. These donations will be used to buy these products and services, shipping to donators, and assistance to a few locals who does not have any of the listed products / services to offer.
SO WHY ARE YOU HERE?
- Whether you have or haven’t heard of us before but would like to make a significant difference to a small island community that would greatly benefit during this critical time
- If you have ever visited the island on one of your trips in the past, and we’ve helped you made incredible memories that’ll last for a lifetime
Then you can help through donation, either large or small and in return we will offer gifts, as the local islanders have always found joy in giving rather than just receiving. Other than donations, you can help us by sharing this campaign to family, friends and others to help spread the word.
We hope you can help us make a difference during these difficult times.