Preserving cultures and scents - Stephan Helary, Terres D'Afrique

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Following his passions, dr. Stephan Helary founded Terres D'Afrique, a cosmetic brand based on rare African botanicals and care for these indigenous plants and the communities that live among them.
"So I was born in Madagascar, and I think it has definitely had a great impact on me. So my perception of the world and especially towards the natural world was born there and as you know, Madagascar has got unique flora and fauna. There's about 95 per cent of the species there, that are endemic to Madagascar, that you can't find anywhere else in the world. It's a hotspot of biodiversity, but also one that is very threatened by deforestation, erosion and climate change. So from a very, very young age, I think I was very quickly sensitive to habitat destruction and species extinction because a lot of species in Madagascar are threatened. And that created in me a very strong interest in nature. And I would say a passion because from that day I wanted to become a vet to work in conservation. And that was, you know, living in Madagascar that it has also exposed me to a lot of different essential oil and traditional medicinal plants. Because Madagascar is one of the most extensive pharmacopoeias in the world, lots of medicinal plants come from there."
"You know, sometimes I go through phases where I don't have any creative idea and it always stresses me. I always get very anxious when I go through these places where I'm just not being creative and I'm not coming up with ideas. And but sometimes, you know, it just comes to me, like, it's just suddenly I've got an idea. I don't always know how, but I think it comes from, you know, an interest in exploring the world, exploring nature in different environments, different cultures. I think that's where we take our inspiration and then suddenly you have an idea of combining something that comes from the East and something that is African. "
"When you are constantly being tempted with clothes and cars and phones and whatever, you kind of become a little bit conditioned with material things - then we tend to forget where we come from and nature is where we come from. There are a lot of studies nowadays that show spending time in nature or even looking at images of nature has an incredibly positive effect on our mental health. So I think for me, you know, reconnecting with nature or staying connected with nature is the way. By that, I mean, go wild. Like, you know, I'm not talking about a park in the town. You go to National Park and go hiking in the mountains and really spend time in the wilderness. "

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