eTurboNews - Independent and Global Travel, Tourism, Lifestyle, Entertainment News you only find here

Travel News Distribution powered by eTurboNews:

Seychelles Unsung Heroes series discovers Julie Fayon

Seychelles Unsung Heroes series discovers Julie Fayon ( Derek Savy, the popular columnist for the Today Daily Newspaper continues his series on Unsung Heroes of the Seychelles. In Part 1 of a review on Julie Fayon, Derek Savy writes: A fiery little teacher with a big heart “Teaching is the most rewarding and satisfying career!” intones a fulfilled Julie Fayon upon reflection… And with a quarter century of imparting knowledge under her belt, she singlehandedly prepared the country’s pool of secretaries, clerks and office managers, pioneering the country’s first secretarial school. Julie went on to become the first head of school for business studies at the newly-formed Polytechnic in the early eighties. And yet, she landed her teaching career purely by accident!


Julie’s parents hailed from Canton. Her dad arrived in Seychelles at the invitation of her uncle who had already settled here. Mr. Ah-Moye rose up to the challenge by stepping in a little boat sailing down river to Hong Kong where he boarded a schooner heading west to some unknown islands in the Indian Ocean.

Arriving in the newly set up colony, the two brothers opened a shop at Mont Fleuri (opposite Jivan’s Complex today). Julie’s father then set up his own shop at Plaisance before buying the property across the road where the Mohan’s shopping center now stands. Upon settling down, he brought in his wife from China together with their first child “Koko."

Julie’s parents converted to Christianity and her father adopted the name “Pierre" Ah-Moye. Julie was born in 1939 on the steps of Victoria hospital, while her mum was being transported by rickshaw. Alain the rickshaw man could barely make it up the little hill to the hospital with father-to-be Pierre heaving from the back.


By two years old, Julie was already attending school - tagging along to her six-year-old minder and hiding behind a piano, every time the school rector would visit. She started primary at the Plaisance School before joining the Regina Mundi Convent, having Sister Dominic as her first teacher.

Julie completed secondary and is endlessly grateful to the nuns who instilled her with strong values such as discipline, hard work and respect. She graduated with flying colors, and her parents wanted her to become a doctor. In those days, it was not that easy to pursue further studies abroad. Along came a young suitor by the name of Marcel who swooped Julie off her feet, banishing any idea of overseas studies.

The Ah-Moye family was made up of 7 kids. Besides “Koko," Julie has three sisters – Marie-Claire, Margaret, and Simone. The two other brothers made a name for themselves in the medical field – James is a dentist and Guy a doctor - both operating private clinics at Mont Fleuri in the seventies.

Julie’s parents were determined on making the best of their newly-adopted home. They learned to speak Creole and adapted to this new island life and society, operating their shop at the service of the community. They kept all their books in Chinese, and Julie was designated as the “official" scribe of the shop’s transactions. And so, every day after school, Julie’s dad would sit her next to him amid a pile of notebooks to tally the amounts. She would work out the sums and developed a great proficiency for math, which obviously helped her to excel in school.


Julie would execute “household" chores daily before retiring to tackle homework; digging into the bags of rice, sugar, and other commodities such as oil and curry powder selling at 5 cents; stacking “dibwa sed" (casuarina firewood); and filling up charcoal boxes selling for 1 rupee to supply the community with its fueling needs.

The family brought with them the tradition of animal rearing, and the Ah-Moyes were known for their fine butchery skills. They specialized in chickens, pigs, and ducks, and their backyard was a mini farm. The children proudly tended to their animals, which brought additional income for this hardworking family.


Julie rode a bicycle to school and would pass by the Fayon shop at Mont Fleuri twice a day. She reckons that Marcel must have eyed her there and then. They eventually met up at the weekend gatherings of the various Chinese families. Marcel would develop an attraction for this hardworking little lady, helping her out at the shop on weekends and lending a hand to Julie’s mother decorating cakes.

When they started dating, Marcel was already in the photography business, with a dark room at this parent’s house. He attended Seychelles College and had a passion for gadgets, especially cameras. Julie had just turned 20 when they wed, moving in with Marcel and taking up her first employment.


It was 1958 when Julie started off as a clerk typist in the colonial Secretariat based at Queen’s Building (Liberty House today), the seat of government. She worked with several colonial secretaries until she was promoted to Confidential Secretary and eventually Private Secretary to the Governor at government house.

During that time, she met up with Mr. Zarqani who set up a Bahai community and evening classes in shorthand and typing. Julie joined the classes and passed all her exams, providing a good platform for the execution of her duties. She was now very proficient, attending to her tasks speedily.

Her boss could now dictate all the letters - quite handy as the colonial administration had to reply to all the letters from Whitehall that came on a ship once a month. She would burn the midnight oil to ensure that all the replies were sent back on the same ship that set sail a few days later.

Julie also helped out at “Radio Seychelles" and the “Seychelles Bulletin," where her skills in shorthand would prove invaluable. An Englishman would dictate all the news extracted from the BBC newswires, which she would then type and act as newsreader early morning at six.

During the colonial days, the legislative assembly meetings were held at the Seychelles College hall and Julie was “contracted" to record all the deliberations in shorthand for several years, transcribing all the information to be made available for the legislators.


Julie’s diligence and hard work paid off, and she was seconded to work with P.S. Miss Addison, to eventually take over this key position. It was perhaps Julie’s most exiting work experience.

The Governor would receive directives from Whitehall through the mail or cables and telegrams that were all coded. At any hour Julie would be summoned to work on the decoding and replies - the first to be privy of all the state “secrets" – with all the paperwork burnt daily and important documents locked away in big vaults.

She also assisted with the protocol at official functions, setting the table plans and ensuring that all arrangements were immaculate. The Governor had his own wine cellar, and Julie got acquainted with the various French wines in his collection.

Julie worked for two governors, namely the Earl of Oxford&Asquith, and it was Sir John Thorpe who set her on a career as a teacher when he proposed that she takes up a UK scholarship in secretarial studies with the aim of returning to open a secretarial school.


Julie accepted this noble challenge, albeit reluctantly. She was newly married with daughter Rose, only two-and-a-half and son Mike barely seven months old. Convincing Marcel to assume the responsibility of raising the children (with the help of their faithful maid), Julie set off on her first trip out of Seychelles aboard a ship to Bombay and onward to London.

Under the bitter cold UK weather, Julie started her adaptation process, cursing every single day, longing for the sunny weather back home. She was constantly in touch with brother Guy, studying for A-levels in Southampton, whose mentoring helped her cope. He even dispatched a hot water bottle to help her keep warm and brave the cold.

Julie did a two-year course in secretarial duties and moved on to complete three years of university, graduating with distinction. She proudly headed home, with the burning ambition to impart her newly-acquired skills and know-how to a new breed of secretaries. Resuming work at Government House, she conducted evening classes for all the clerks and messengers, improving their skills and work ethic.


Her devotion and dedication to parent the future generations of qualified secretaries fired her up, and Julie was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to set up a small secretarial school at Les Palmes, Mont Fleuri, with a first intake of 20 students.

As the classes expanded, the school led a nomadic existence. But the determined little lady with a noble mission wandered around town carrying her school like a snail! It moved to Gordon Square (Freedom Square today) to the Long Pier in a room close to where the “Lady Esmee" berthed with the full package of clatter and awful smells.

She persevered and the school then shifted to Dr. Francis’s house on Quincy Street amidst musical rehearsals at “Rendez Vous" nightclub in the evenings, before sharing a cinema hall with projectionist Sadi Rassool. They eventually settled into a section of the ex-Regina Mundi convent where a proper school with faculty was set up with Julie as head.


With several changes happening in education during the early 80s, Julie was commissioned to set up the School of Business Studies at the newly-formed Seychelles Polytechnic. Together with lecturer Chris Piers, she created the curriculum and operation, conducting their own exams and awarding the diploma certificates. Several subjects such as bookkeeping, economics, and commerce were taught, and she later introduced the first course in computing.

Julie dedicated more than 15 years at this new learning institution and eventually retired in 1990 having played a hand in educating several generations of secretaries, clerks, and office managers, who today are playing a key role in the country’s affairs.

Julie’s life story is still being written. She is as fired up today, taking on the challenges of running two businesses while maintaining her sports regime to keep fit. Her contributions towards the country’s colonial administration and her crusade to education are commendable. The fiery little teacher with a golden heart is still going strong.


+++ Upload Your Press Release +++

Need assistance?

You need a little assistance?Call for help

Subscribe Now!

News Distribution Service

Distribute your press release with our service?

Submit Your Press-release

Latest Travel News