Updated: May 27, 2020
Spa manager at the aha David Livingstone Safari Lodge in Zambia, Leandre Fuhri Shaw, has been appointed Global Wellness Day (GWD) Ambassador for that country.
GWD is a non-profit initiative dedicated to the concept of living well and traditionally takes place on the second Saturday of June every year. It was conceived by Turkish spa and wellness professional, Belgin Aksoy, and first held in 2012. Last year GWD was celebrated simultaneously in more than 150 countries at 8,000 different locations.
Says Fuhri: “As the GWD Ambassador for Zambia, my duties are to share and spread the notion of well-being to everyone everywhere, and to encourage and excite the whole of Zambia to join this initiative by letting them know that one day can make a difference in their lives.
“I believe in starting this campaign at home, and by that I don't mean the town of Livingstone, but rather the spa and beauty industry of Zambia, including the hospitality industry. We are blessed that we have a world of people at our fingertips in our hotels from all walks of life. All we need to be is excited, positive and to share the knowledge. From there, these people can then spread the message all the way to the biggest towns and even the smallest villages.”
Fuhri first celebrated GWD at her spa in 2018. She continues: “We focused on mind, body and soul. It was a truly fantastic day and most people could not wait for the next GWD.”
She chose to support the initiative because, after having been a spa therapist for many years, she spent so much time seeing how people forget to live well by skipping the basics, overwhelmed by day-to-day life and even missing out on the joys of family.
“I felt that the basic manifest of GWD is a reminder to stop and change the small things in order to get to the big things, without giving up the important things. It was a wake-up call to myself as well and I could not wait to share this all with as many people as possible. GWD slots perfectly into my career choice and even more so working in the hospitality industry.”
Fuhri Shaw’s name was put forward to GWD founder, Belgin Aksoy, by Celeste Peters, GWD Ambassador for South Africa.
Says Fuhri Shaw: “Celeste and I were equally excited when she encouraged me to join the GWD celebration the first time back in 2018. I was beside myself and could not stop talking – I still feel that excitement and believe that is why Celeste thought I would be a good fit for GWD Ambassador.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the dynamics of GWD 2020 do change, however the day will still go ahead. Fuhri Shaw explains: “We will be celebrating GWD as per usual on the second Saturday of June (13 June). During such a difficult time, people all need a little hope, not to mention a reminder to stay positive and well. We would have loved to have an event much bigger than before, however with Covid-19 now in Zambia, it would be unwise.
“Taking into account that not everyone here has access to YouTube and Facebook, I believe it is important to share with as many people as possible and not be daunted by the limitations. So, we will have a family fitness session, where families can move their furniture in their homes and do the workout with us. In addition, we will be sharing a few health smoothie tips to include what our local farmers have in at the moment to boost people's immune systems. To make sure we reach as many people as possible, we will be making use of a WhatsApp manifesto that we hope people will share and start to make a change to their lives.
“For me personally, I believe wellness is a state of well-being that is far more than just being fit and eating healthily during these trying times. I also think people are increasingly realising that wellness includes the joy of family, the strength in community, the support of co-workers, and appreciating what we are blessed with and making the choice to say, ‘I will live well’, and then actually doing it.” (Report by Joanna Sterkowiz)