Evaluating Housing and Education in Mauritius


M.R has an experience of extreme poverty. He explains how rehousing or education projects cannot function if are not thought out with the people concerned.

M.R participated in the MDGs evaluation project in Mauritius

Here, there isn’t any work.

Before, we were living at ’La Pipe’, which has become today the ’Midlands Dam’. The authorities found alternative housing for us in a village, but unfortunately, we couldn’t find work in the area.
On the other hand, in ’La Pipe’, we could find work in the fields. Quite often, people even came looking for us to give us work. Here we cannot find any.

Some mothers did manage to find work in manufacturing plants. Unfortunately, the conditions were such that they weren’t able to keep their jobs. They had to leave home at six o’ clock in the morning, and only came back at six o’ clock in the evening. With small children, it wasn’t possible. Unlike at ’La Pipe’, we have to pay for the rent, for electricity, for water. As I explained before, there isn’t any work. With all these new expenses, some of the inhabitants have paid with their lives to be able to support their family.

85% of people don’t know how to read or write.

In our village, eighty-five per cent of the parents don’t know how to read or write – it’s a form of violence in their day to day lives. They’re unable to draw up a budget and keep checking it, so they spend and spend… Often, parents have to be accompanied when they go to an office, because they cannot read or write. This is humiliating, because they feel assisted. Moreover, they have to sign with their thumbprint because they cannot make a signature.

Education a key issue.

School is free in Mauritius, but for parents who live in poverty, it isn’t really: you still have to buy school supplies. Sometimes, I make appeals for donations, but I don’t always receive what I ask for. Instead, I received things that are useless. Some charities come here to distribute toys, cakes and juice to the children. However, I always ask them to bring school supplies to really bring relief to parents.

Today, two children are waiting for me to come back so I can find them books, uniforms, shoes and other school supplies. In another case, there was a child with a disability who wasn’t able to go to school. The mother didn’t receive any benefit to help her school her child, because she couldn’t read and write and so she wasn’t aware of her rights.

What I wish for is for us to become a village where all the young people know how to read and write, because this is the key to save my village.