A former British colony, Mauritius became independent in 1968. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with 585 inhabitants per square kilometre. It has developed quickly in recent years and is now one of Africa’s most prosperous countries. Wealth distribution remains very unequal however and many families struggle to make ends meet.
Children in Mauritius
A number of indicators clearly show how much progress Mauritius has made concerning the protection of its children. The country’s infant mortality rate dropped from 15.3 per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 10.9 in 2013, universal access to education has been secured and a number of infectious diseases have virtually been eradicated. The constitution of Mauritius clearly prohibits forced labour and slavery. Although the government of Mauritius has significantly strengthened its legal framework to fight child labour, the commercial exploitation of minors has not completely disappeared. The prevalence of child labour may be fairly low, but children are still involved in agricultural activities, street vending and domestic service. Many of these children work in rather hazardous environments where they have to use dangerous machinery. Mauritius remains a country in which children are subjected to sex trafficking. Young girls from all different parts of the island, in particular from Rodrigues Island, are forced into prostitution both within Mauritius and abroad. Girls aged ten or even younger have been found in prostitution.
Child abandonment continues to be a major problem in Mauritius. Poverty and change in partners are cited as the main reasons. Over recent years, the number of street children has increased across the island, and they are highly vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse, neglect and violence.
Our Children's Villages in Mauritius
We initiated our activities on the island in the 1980s. The organisation received a plot of land just 20km outside of Port Luis, the country’s capital, where the country’s first SOS Children’s Village was inaugurated in 1990. Against the background of increasingly high levels of poverty, in particular in rural areas of the island, the organisation decided to start working in Bambous.
Since 2004, SOS Children’s Villages has been running family strengthening programmes, aiming to strengthen existing family ties and to enable children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to grow up within a loving family environment. At present, SOS Children is supporting young people and children in Mauritius via different programmes, providing day care, education and vocational training.
We began our work on the island of Mauritius in 1990 when the first community was opened in Beau Bassin, about 20kms north of the capital, Port Louis.
In 2003, a second village was opened at Bambous, the capital of the Black River Province, 12 miles south of the village at Beau Bassin. There are twelve family houses, a nursery for 75 children and an SOS Social Centre that supports 250 vulnerable children and their families.
P.O. Box 141
Tel: +230/45 43 436
Fax: +230/46 51 480