The small town of Bambous has a population of around 15,000 people and is the capital of the Black River District in western Mauritius. The region is the country’s largest, but most sparsely populated.
The country is developing significantly, and primary education and health care are now freely available to all Mauritians. But many still struggle to afford basic goods as living costs on the island are high. Unemployment and lack of infrastructure are further challenges for families in rural areas like Bambous.
Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bambous.
In rural areas, many families rely on farming or fishing for their livelihoods, but the income from this tends to be low. At the same time, living costs on the island are very high as most commodities are imported. Hence, many still struggle to afford basic goods.
Furthermore, unemployment rates have been on the rise in recent years, and women and young people are most severely affected. Youth employment in the area is as high as 21%. Single mothers, especially when they lack education, have a very hard time finding employment and they often struggle to provide for their children.
The Black River District, where Bambous is located, is a very large region of Mauritius. Population density is low and many people live very remotely. As a result, infrastructure tends to be less readily available in rural areas like Bambous. For example, 10% of the rural population do not have access to improved sanitation facilities and running water. Hence, children are more likely to become ill. Furthermore, schools are often very far away. While primary schools are free, children and young people in rural Mauritius often have difficulties getting to school.