The Archbishop Makarios Foundation of Seychelles is the legacy of a charitable fund created by Cypriot Orthodox Archbisop Makarios III in 1973.
It is the oldest charitable organisation in Seychelles dedicated to the welfare of children and their education.
The story of Archbishop Makarios’ care and donation to the children of Seychelles starts with the time that he was exiled in the island country.
When he became archbishop in 1950, Makarios III began a campaign for enosis (meaning Cyprus’ union with Greece) in a struggle to free Cyprus from the colonial rule from Britain.
The British government did not want him to succeed and he was exiled to Seychelles after the British government accused him of supporting a guerilla group called EOKA, which was fighting the British authorities and the Turks.
He was taken to Seychelles on 14 March 1956 and stayed until 5 April 1957. He arrived on board MHS Loch Fada, having flown from Cyprus on board an RAF Hastings aircraft to Mombasa, East Africa.
The Archbishop was accompanied by Bishop Kyprianos of Kyrenia, Father Stavros Papaagathangelou, and his secretary, Polycarpos Ioannides.
They lived at the Governor’s Lodge at Sans Souci. The place later became the residence of the American Ambassador to Seychelles. It is now privately owned.
Just over a year after his arrival, the Archbishop and his companions left in the Greek tanker Olympic Thunder bound for Madagascar. From there they flew to Athens where Makarios stayed until 1959 when he returned to Cyprus.
Seychelles stayed in the heart of the Archbishop. Thirteen years after his return to Cyprus, he came to Seychelles on second visit 1972.
Before the Archbishop left Seychelles, he donated a sum of £1,000 for a permanent fund to provide scholarships to Seychellois students in need. These are the original terms of reference of the Trust Fund: Assisting needy Seychellois pupils in deserving cases to accomplish their studies in Secondary Schools in Seychelles.
On 18 May 1973, the Archbishop Makarios Trust Fund was created.
The name of the fund was changed to the Archbishop Makarios Foundation of Seychelles in March 2017, under the leadership of the chairperson, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey.
The aims and objectives of the foundation include succeeding the Archbishop Makarios Scholarship Fund by continuing to assist Seychellois children and also to do other charitable events including to create and manage a Makarios cultural centre or memorial centre in the future.
It is believed that Archbishop Makarios intended to retire in Seychelles, where he would build a house and chapel. During his second visit, he bought a property at La Misère known as Ma Josephine allegedly for that purpose. He passed away in 1977, before he was able to realise his intentions.