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Endemic Plant Nursery Inaugurated At The Open Prison For Women

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An Endemic Plant Nursery was inaugurated, by the Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Kavydass Ramano, on Thursday morning, at the Open Prison for Women in Barkly, Beau Bassin.

The project is an initiative of the Mauritius Prison Service organised with the collaboration of the Australian High Commission, Fondation Resources et Nature (FORENA) and the SICOM Group. Certificates were also remitted to two Senior Women Prison Officers and four inmates upon their successful completion of training related to managing the nursery and plants.

Endemic Plant Nursery Inaugurated At The Open Prison For Women

The Acting Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Jaganaden Rungadoo; the Australian High Commissioner to Mauritius, Ms Kate Chamley; the Chief Executive Officer of the SICOM Group, Mrs Nandita Ramdewar; the Chairperson of FORENA, Mr Manoj Vaghjee and other eminent personalities were also present for the occasion.

Minister Ramano lauded the efforts of all stakeholders and partners, especially FORENA, the GEF Small Grants Programme and UNDP, for this commendable initiative. Stressing the imperative of protecting our forests, he stated that the initiatives aimed at planting trees or cultivating plants will not only help to safeguard the environment but also preserve our ecological heritage, especially for future generations.

Endemic Plant Nursery Inaugurated At The Open Prison For Women

The Environment Minister further indicated that this nursery project for endemic plants will provide inmates with training in agriculture, serving as an asset for their reintegration into the professional and social environment on release. Additionally, he mentioned that plants from the nursery will be utilised for reforestation projects across the island.

The Minister underpinned that this initiative will not only benefit the environment and enhance the beauty of certain areas but will also empower inmates with valuable skills, offering them a second chance. Moreover, he mentioned collaboration with institutions like the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development and the Academy of Design and Innovation to provide training on ‘green jobs’ related to the circular economy for prisoners.

Endemic Plant Nursery Inaugurated At The Open Prison For Women

Delving on the fundamental role of women in environmental protection, Mr Ramano underlined their importance in transitioning to sustainable lifestyles and a circular economy paradigm. He emphasised the need to equip women with the tools to drive positive change in society.

For her part, Ms Chemley echoed support for projects promoting environmental protection, particularly when combined with empowering women and girls. She stressed Australia’s commitment to supporting initiatives in Mauritius that address climate change and empower prisoners for a successful reintegration into society upon release.

Endemic Plant Nursery Inaugurated At The Open Prison For Women

As for Mr Vaghjee, he recalled that the idea of establishing a nursery in a prison and providing training in plant propagation and nursery management arose from the recognition that acquiring new skills enhances the chances of social reintegration for the inmates. Meanwhile, Mrs Ramdewar spotlighted the opportunity provided by FORENA for SICOM to contribute to society through the project and reaffirmed SICOM’s commitment to sustainability with the unfolding of future projects.

Mr Rungadoo accentuated the transformation of the prison into a place not only of isolation but also of growth and connection to the environment through the establishment of a plant nursery. He underscored the new set of skills that will be endorsed by the female inmates and applied for the benefit of the environment.

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