The Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Environment, Transport, and Energy, along with conference co-host, the South Asia and Africa regional Port Stability Cooperative (SAARPSCO), hosted a fundraising raising dinner for the Red Cross Horn of Africa Appeal yesterday evening in the margins of the “Piracy: Orchestrating a Response” conference, currently taking place at le Meridien Barbarons Hotel.
The evening boasted a variety of activities including the launch of former Somali hostage Captain Francis Roucou’s book, “88 Days,” detailing the experience of the Indian Ocean Explorer crew who were hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.
“No man can come out of this experience without having been changed in his general outlook on life and appreciation of it,” said Capt. Roucou,
“…this is what this book is all about. It tells the story of our journey to hell and back, but it is also a story about people and their relations with others around them; how they cope with the circumstances they find themselves in.”
During the dinner, a raffle and silent auction to raise funds for the appeal was held, but in addition to this, Capt. Roucou, who is also a strong advocate of the Somali people, urged the public not to associate the pirate activities of a few with the whole country, and he donated a portion of the proceeds from the sale of his book to the appeal.
The Horn of Africa Appeal was launched by the Red Cross Society of Seychelles and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (on behalf of the government) on August 19 in response to the ongoing drought and famine in Somalia and neighbouing countries.
Generous donations were also made from the private sector companies participating in the conference such as Indian Ocean Tuna Ltd., and a German company, OHB System (Europe’s third largest satellite integrators), who donated 3000 euros to the appeal.
The highly-successful evening raised over Rs80,000 towards the Red Cross disaster funds.
Both hosting ministries and SAARPSCO thanked the participants for their generous support of the evening, with a special thanks to the local hotels and businesses who sponsored items for the raffle and auction.