The First Lady of the Republic of Seychelles, Mrs. Natalie Brigitte Nadège Michel, née Pothin, was born on 18th of August 1977 on the main island, Mahé, in the Republic of Seychelles. She grew up on the island of Praslin, the second largest island of the Seychelles archipelago, where she attended primary and secondary school.
Following further studies on Mahé, Mrs. Michel proceeded for specialized studies in Singapore and the UK where she studied Business Administration, Hospitality Management, Advertising and Public Relations, at diploma level.
Mrs. Michel also holds an International Diploma in Advertising and Public Relations as well as an International Diploma in Tourism and Travel Management which she obtained from the Cambridge International College. Following her studies, Mrs. Michel worked for different well known tourism establishment and travel agencies in Seychelles. Upon becoming First Lady, Mrs. Michel shifted her focus from her previous professional field to a cause close to her heart – the protection and well-being of children needing special attention, which is the raison d’être of the Children’s Homes Foundation she founded in 2006.
Under the programme ‘Children: Our raison d’être’, the Foundation provides support to children needing special attention with a special focus on children’s homes. The Foundation is responsible for the management of the largest home in Seychelles, the President’s Village, home to over 50 children. The Foundation also gives support to other children’s homes run by the Roman Catholic Diocese.
Children who are placed in homes generally have a history of abuse and neglect, which is the reason why the First Lady is a strong proponent of the healing and recovery of those children, to give them back their self confidence and dignity – a cause she advocates passionately. To assist her in her advocacy role, Mrs. Michel has recently appointed two “Children Ambassadors” to speak on behalf of their peers. She also leads a team of full time staff and an Executive Committee to assist her in her work with the Foundation.
Under the ‘Children: Our raison d’être’ programme, Mrs. Michel promotes a wide range of activities addressing different needs of children as well as programmes aimed at confidence building and character development through art, reading, clubs and other self development initiatives. It is Mrs. Michel’s strong belief that it is society’s duty to reach out and help those in need which has inspired her to create different reaching-out activities as part of her charitable work as First lady. Her reaching-out activities helps different groups in the community. She actively promotes charities for the cause of the vulnerable ones, engaging the business community to uphold their social corporate responsibility towards those in need through sponsorship of different projects.
Mrs. Michel has the support of a group of faithful and committed sponsors from the business community as well as a strong pool of volunteers helping her to better the lives of children needing special attention. One of the groups with special needs that has caught the attention of Mrs. Michel is children with autism. In her bid to bring awareness of autism and hence support to the cause, Mrs. Michel has linked up with international and local partners so as to make a difference in the lives of children with autism. She is the Patron of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles, bringing her personal support and contribution to the humanitarian activities of the RCS.
Mrs. Michel firmly believes in partnering with different groups in the community for the benefit of children. An example of this partnership is her recent collaboration with the spouses of diplomats in Seychelles, who have since launched their association, and with which she will be working on children-related projects. Mrs. Michel also works closely with different professional groups like psychologists, and others to give them support in their work with children, particularly those with special needs. Mrs. Michel is currently partnering with health professionals for different projects and programmes related to children. The First Couple of the Republic of Seychelles was married on 16th of July 2005 and they have a daughter, Laeticia.
THE SEYCHELLES Country profile
Under 5 mortality rate (per thousand): 11
Youth literacy rate: 99%
Population under 18: 43,000