Mauritius: The social gov’t project works tackle poverty

African countries have over time committed themselves to reduce poverty rates, including the island-state of Mauritius. Since the passing of the Social Integration and Empowerment Act in 2016, the government continues to identify families living in absolute poverty, and provide the necessary assistance.

Meet the Begue family. They were among the first to receive comprehensive assistance in 2017.

“First we got my mom and my dad. Then I, my husband, my three children. Then my brother and his wife. Then my three little brothers. And my uncle. Before we lived in an iron sheet house. It was small. We have to go to the toilet outside. It was cold. Now the government helps us to build this concrete house. And even the living room is big. It’s more comfortable. More room. And even the living room is enough big for us,” says
Yulita Begue, Self-employed Pastry Chef.

And as CGTN’s Liu Feifei reports, the government also provided pastry-making training to Yulita’s mother and now the two ladies successfully operate a small pastry business.

Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, Minister of Social Integration, Social Security
and National Solidarity submits: “An assessment is done by qualified officers. And based on the income and living environment of the family. And if the family is qualified, then it is registered on the social register of Mauritius. And once the family is registered, our ministry does provide support in a holistic way so that at the end of the day the family can be out of poverty.”

And here are the three daughters of the Munian family. A few years ago, the family went through hard times due to health issues and unemployment. The girls faced an uncertain future…

“When my husband lost his job, I was sick and I needed to have cardiac treatment. I didn’t have money for my children to go to school,” Toolaseeambal Munian, Homemaker.

“Of course, our goal is to see to it that those families come out of poverty. For them to come out of poverty,…we do provide a lot of support. Not only financial support, but we focus also on education, training, unemployment. If there is any health issue, we do address all these issues so that at a certain point in time, the family is well empowered and can come out of their present situation,” Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo says.

Since getting onto the Social Register, the family has received needed medical help. The eldest daughter is getting trained to be a hairdresser while the second daughter is training to be a nursery school teacher. The youngest is now a full-time student, making good use of the tablet computer and other educational materials provided by the government.

Since the passing of the Social Integration and Empowerment Act and the subsequent establishment of the Social Register, the number of families living in absolute poverty has gone from about 10,000 families to about 5,000 families. While absolute poverty still exists in Mauritius, the government is working hard one case at a time to make Mauritius a truly inclusive society where no one is left behind.