Located in the Indian Ocean, Beau Bassin-Rose Hill is the third largest city on the island of Mauritius. Development targets are being met, and all Mauritians have access to primary education and healthcare.
Yet despite the island's progress and prosperity, many families face a number of problems. Gender equality remains an issue, as do high living costs. Families in rural areas are particularly at risk of struggling to survive.
Parents struggle to earn an income
Nearly three-quarters of all commodities, including food and petrol, are imported into Mauritius. This keeps the cost of living high, making it hard for poorer families to afford basic goods. The recent global economic crisis has made matters worse, as Mauritian industries, like are producing and exporting less. This decline in production impacts local families who relied on these industries, such as sugar and textiles, for their source of income.
Many have turned to fishing or farming to earn an income. However these industries face their own problems, with over-fishing, over-grazing and soil erosion reducing the profit that can be made. As a result, unemployment is high, especially among young people and women. Single mothers often find it hard to find work, particularly if they lack an education.
Children at risk
Rural areas of Mauritius often have under-developed infrastructure. For example, 10% of the rural population lack good sanitation facilities.
Another growing risk is that of drug abuse. Mauritius is steadily becoming a transit point for the trafficking of drugs into Europe. Young Mauritians are being sucked up into the drug industry, with around 2% of the population reported to be heroin abisers - the highest prevalence of heroin abuse in Africa. Worringly, those abusing drugs are getting younger, who experiment with sniffing glue, smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol - sometimes taking them down the path to harder drugs.
How does SOS Children help in Beau Bassin?
In 1992 we began working in Beau Bassin to help vulnerable children. When a child has lost their parents, for example once orphaned or abandoned, we offer them a new loving home at the SOS Children's Village. Here they belong to an SOS family, and grow up with siblings and their SOS mother. There are 15 SOS families in this Childre's Village, creating a supportive community for al of the children who live there.
Early education is provided at the SOS Nursery, where young children from SOS families as the surrounding area join together to play. Local parents benefit from the daycare we offer, as it allows them to leave their child at the nursery while they go out to work. Later, children join local schools, therby intergrating into the community.
Upon reaching adolescence, we support young people to become independent and gain vocational skills. Our youth programme supports their transition to adulthood, with qualified counsellors supervising and guiding them. Each young person in our care is empowered to have a successful future.
Will you transform the life of a vulnerable child, ensuring they are protected from risks and have a bright future? Start sponsoring a child in Beau Bassin today.