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Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Beau Bassin, Mauritius

Sponsored children from Beau Bassin
Sponsored children from Beau Bassin

A child sponsorship report from Beau Bassin in Mauritius. Written in 2009.

Dear sponsor and friend of the SOS Children’s Village Beau Bassin,

We hope that you are fine and enjoying a good health.  The staff and children of our village send you their warm greetings.  All the children are in school vacations and the village is full of life.  The social workers and mothers are very busy these days organizing various activities to keep the children busy and enjoy their time.

We have 97 children at the village.  There are some 12 children who have been newly admitted.  It takes a lot of hard work to get them used to the way of life at the village.  Amongst the new children there are 4 of them of 12, 8, 6 and 4 years old who have been living on streets as their parents are substance users and cannot care for them.  It was shocking to see the physical state of these children during their first days at the village.  First of all they needed a good bath as they apparently have had no bath since a long time.  We got rid of their shabby clothes and finally although they looked frail, they were completely transformed. It was difficult to imagine the stories they had to relate on their life before joining the village.  They lived on left over’s and survived by begging or fooling people around.  The next step was to enrol them in schools.  It seemed to us that they would never be willing to go to school, as they had never been to any school before.  With much convincing and encouragement they finally agreed and started schooling.  The two younger ones are happy and are regular to school but the elder one unfortunately has not been able to adapt to this new environment. Indeed, he runs away from school to go to his native place and starts his activities to get money.  It will take really a long time to bring this boy to live a normal life like every boy of his age.

Of course not all children who join the village are difficult cases.  Fortunately most of them quickly adapt to the village and start leading a normal children life.  All the newly admitted children have now joined a school and we will take measures for them to catch up with their education early next year.

Meanwhile our children are looking forward to the end of year festivities.  We had our annual camp on the beach from 25th to 27th November 2009 and the children spent delightful moments. For the children these three days were the most enjoyable days of the year although there have been many interesting activities organized throughout the year.

SOS mothers are the key persons in our organization and they are the ones which makes everything happen at the children’s level. This year we wanted to say a special thank you to these mothers. We got the sponsorship of a prestigious hotel in Mauritius, the Grand Mauritian hotel which is situated in the north of the island, organized a magnificent garden party for all mothers and children. It was a heartfelt event full of emotion. The children stated some gentle words to their mothers and many of them were unable to retain their tears with the touching thanks.

Another activity worth mentioning is a sharing session on sex education organized by youths and youth leaders. In this session youth from other institutions were invited and all of them participated. There were over 60 participants and some very good resource persons animated the sessions. The sessions were informative and interesting it was appreciated by all. The participants we meet always ask us when we will organize a similar group work.

The Global Peace Games is now an annual event at the SOS Children’s Villages Mauritius. This year a Football Festival was organised on the 26th of September with children of both villages and the participation of other NGOs of the locality.  The aim of this event was to get children and organisations to join in together and celebrate “Peace”. Together with the two SOS Children’s Villages other organizations took part in the games.  The event was held at the community playground of Vuillemin, a football pitch just about 500 metres away from the SOS Children’s Village of Beau Bassin.  At 9.00 o’clock on that day, 200 children were ready on the football ground. Looking very smart in their football outfit the children were awaiting impatiently for the official beginning of the Football Festival 2009. We could all feel the joy of the children and members of the community on the playground.  The event started with a message to the kids on the importance of living together in peace as brothers and sisters irrespective of cultural backgrounds.  Everyone enjoyed the games in peace and harmony, and a real affiliation was created among the children of SOS and the children from the other communities.  At the end of the day, our “footballers” were very tired but so happy to have participated in the Football Festival and met new friends. All the winners were awarded prizes, we also shared food and refreshment together with all participants and said goodbye to each other around 13.00 hours

Yours sincerely,

Rajen Jugnarain 
Village Manager