Reflecting on Another Mauritius


My Mauritius is definitely not theirs!

Handicapped Children in cultural activities in a APEIM managed centre Mauritius

Handicapped Children in cultural activities in a APEIM-managed centre

I read sometime last week that 250 mentally handicapped young Mauritians will be denied free education as from January 2014.

I wake up almost every morning, since then, with that DAMNING thought banging in my head! In fact, I can’t sleep well…

250 most vulnerable of our citizens will be out of the Educational circuit, because the Government of Mauritius would only afford MUR 19,000 of the MUR 50,000 needed per handicapped child. L’APEIM is closing its 9 centres and their decision, presumably, will not be reconsidered. 

I don’t care whether these kids be White or Black, “Malbar” or “Blanc” or “Creole” or “Lascar” or “Madras” or “Sinwa”… The plain truth is that they are all Mauritian young citizens as much as I am, as much as You are, as much as My or Your kids are… They are an integral part of our legendary rainbow and surely, they deserve more dedication, more attention, more sacrifices…

Where does the State take its job seriously ?…

And I know what I’m talking about.
My daughter’s best friend is a physically less-abled young girl, who successfully sat for SC last year, in a secondary school of Rose Hill. Suffering from severe muscular and bone atrophy since birth, she has undergone several medical trips abroad, the longest being for a year.

Praises go to the parents, who with the help of friends and relatives (less from the State) managed to cocoon and attend the child in the best of ways. The mother stopped work for more than one year… the dad had to work for two, in order to reimburse the loans and cater for the elder son.
Even if some State grants have helped, nothing here, was set to assist with specialized education facilities for less-abled citizens of Mauritius. This is why she found herself forced into integrating a “normal” secondary school, instead of taking advantage of modern learning methods and tools that exist (elsewhere) especially for less-abled youngsters.

Here, when you are deaf or blind, you are sent basket-making… if you are mentally unadapted, you are sent to Mental Hospital and when you are physically impaired, you are hidden, avoided and let to live or die… often when parents do not have the education, time and resources to attend their children. We all know the story of an handicapped countryman who strays and live on charity in our own vicinity.

Even when, like Mervyn Anthony, you manage to get an MBA, while being deaf and partially mute, the discrimination continues and takes the toll, even at professional level. Mervyn is another case where normal schooling has forcibly been made the only option. Just imagine a Deaf and Mute at college. And this has been going thus for decades, without anyone questioning. Mea Culpa !

L’APEIM was there, doing what it thought was right, but may be (and tha’t’s only my 2c), didn’t raise the issue early enough, due to the comfort zone they were in, with their, then, solid local and international benefactors and donors.
One might feel that they only got out of their numbness, when the successive worldwide economic crises progressively and drastically thinned the private contributions, year after year. And at the lowest, they turned towards the Government, only to get the echo of their own requests.

Anyway, the main question is…

How can the Mauritian Government believe that 20,000 normal scholars can have MUR 50,000, while the minor segment of children with mental or physical difficulties should be granted far less than half that sum ? The only obvious reason behind such a stand could be that one, where minorities are considered hopeless and unproductive in the electoral count, like in : “Take that bone and shut up !”.

This is Electoral Discrimination. This is criminal.

Somehow, somewhere, someone did not do his job properly. Somehow, somewhere, someone did not take his responsibility… and follow my finger as it moves towards that city where 11 innocent Mauritian nationals lost their lives to some other one’s incompetency… Follow my finger while I have the strongest feeling about how Power, in the hand of very few, is slowly but surely defacing paradise, defrauding its people… Somehow, somewhere, someone just fucked up again and that’s shameful !

Mauritius should normally be THAT nation in the World where the Welfare State, l’Etat-Providence is supposed to be an innate, unalienable, progressive asset for the post-independence generations. But slowly and surely, these so called leftists have become greedy hyenas that feast on human misery, much more than the most profit-minded capitalists, in the doing, at least.

We do have a government that has, for the past 20 years, done nothing but cosmetic changes to lure the “Peuple Admirable of Mauritius”, at all levels. Because for these past 20 years or more, money in the pocket is still much more important than bettering the life of vulnerable citizens, the life of Mauritians at large.

Looks bad, but I will still fight for a better Mauritius

When we look at what surrounds us, We, basic Mauritians, are starting to feel like an exogenous race that will soon be parked in regions outside the IRS, ERS zones, where most of the juiciest clean or dirty businesses will be done… a bit like a Banlieue 13. Why do you think, so many are now ripping public money by Hundreds of Millions ?

When I think of all this, I am scared, scared for my kids, scared for the most vulnerable ones, scared for those who do not have the time to reflect productively on vital social and political issues in this country. I have all the reasons to be a pessimistic frustrated Mauritian, but I vowed to make my country a better place for each and every son and daughter of this land.

However long it will take me, whatever the means, I’ll stick to this mission for I believe there is a way out.

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