Poverty in Paradise

ShantyIt is sad to note that official statistics show that poverty is on the increase in Paradise. In 2002, official statistics had shown that 93,200 people were living below the poverty line. The 2012 census made in May of that year indicates 126,200. This indicates an increase of 33,000 in just a decade.

In percentage terms, the increase is 2%. Thus with 9.8% of the population considered as living in poverty, we almost arrive at the psychological threshold of 10% i.e. one Mauritian in ten.

Five years ago the percentage was at 8.5%. Therefore, the trend remains on the increase. In 2002, 23,700 households were living in poverty, today, figures are at 33,800. Ten years ago a household falling into this category had less than (Mauritius rupee) Rs 3,821 per month (USD123-EUR95). With inflation that figure has now been increased to Rs 5,660 per month (USD182-EUR140). Is considered poor, a family of two adults with two children earning less than Rs 13,330 per month.

It should be noted that since 2007 social aid to the poor has increased by 50%. However, statistics also show that poverty has actually decreased from 104,200 in 2006-2007 to 87,900 in 2012. This is probably due to the government and NGO concerted efforts in eradication of extreme poverty.

Nevertheless, there are still many families awaiting aid in several areas such as education, housing, health and employment. There are not enough human resources on the ground to aid the vulnerable. Many NGOs lack the necessary functional requirements in terms of budget to be able to run efficiently. Government resources are lacking in social worker numbers and therefore help is limited. Eradication of extreme poverty is still a slow process.

Source Link:
Republic of Mauritius: Poverty Analysis 2001/02
Report by Defimedia.info (French) 4 July 2013

4 thoughts on “Poverty in Paradise”

  1. I find it interesting that the comments made by Jean Pierre can be made almost universally and that they don’t seem limited by geography. Why is that? The situations you describe, Mike, also seem universal.

    1. Our present government has announced the new budget in parliament and again a strategy has been formulated to tackle the problem of extreme poverty here. Their aim is to motivate the business sector to be more responsible within their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) actions. This means that funding but also development resources for the pockets of extreme poverty can be mobilized. However, I feel that this is not enough. Dishing out vast amounts of cash does not resolve the problems which involves education, housing, job training, employment just to name a few. What is needed are case by case treatments. That requires more human resources on the ground assisting, monitoring and following-up families. Each case has its own characteristics and also requires motivating the concerned to a transition for autonomy. As you mention this has universal attributes and experience can be drawn from other nations adapting them to the local cultural scenario. In the States you have a saying that comes to mind “Get Off Your Butts” which should be the rallying cry in this case!

  2. These statistics do baffle me indeed!……here we are in 2013, living standards generally have improved in leaps and bounds and almost each household has a motor car, flat screen tv’s and other luxuries which we did not have only a decade ago!……we employ thousands of foreign workers in our textile and other industries!….the question I ask myself is why are so many people living below the poverty line!…..why are these people not actively participate in the development of our country?……..why do they not take the employment which are actually take by foreigners?……is is perhaps because they do not want to do these jobs?…..is it because they do not want to work at all and expect the state to provide for them?…….I know that there are some communities who proclaim that they are descendants of the slaves and all they want is “compensation”from the state!…..these people live on the margins of society and do not make any effort to better themselves and to enter the work market!…..In this world, there is not such a things as a free lunch!…….you do not get anything for nothing!….personally, I uprooted myself from my loved ones and went abroad to forge a career and to better myself!…..I honestly think some of my compatriots have no ambition and only want to be a community of “assiste’s” with a host of excuses why they should be provided for by the state!…..A good advice I would give to a lot of them who are able to do so is to “get on your bikes and get some work”…..if hundreds of people from India and Bangladesh can come to work in Mauritius, there is something fundamentally wrong with some sections of our society and the sooner this problem is tackled, the better it will be for the development of the country!.

    1. You have a good point there about importing foreign workers, especially in the textile industry. I also wondered why so many unemployed could not be trained for those jobs. As far as I can see it is not just one part of the community but across the board. One factor is the increase of alcoholism and drug use which is devastating the family unit. Many women are being left alone with small children in relative poverty. There has to be more human resources on the ground in the way of social workers to get at the root of the problem and with the right government directives and laws bring people to their responsibilities. We see examples of people getting social housing assistance but after awhile failing to pay their loans or rents. Unfortunately, these need to be supervised in life skills and methods found to motivate them not to fall back into lethargy. You need a good balance between discipline and initial assistance.

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