Beau Bassin-Rose Hill is the capital of the Lower Plaines Wilhems region of Mauritius and has a population of almost 150 000, making it the country’s third largest city.
Living conditions have been steadily improving for the majority of the population, and primary education and health care are freely available to everyone. However, in rural areas life is difficult. Many still struggle to afford basic goods: living costs on the island are very high, as most commodities are imported.
Infrastructure tends to be poor and many young people are unemployed after finishing school.
Since 1992, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Beau Bassin.
While the standard of living in Mauritius and the city of Beau Bassin-Rose Hill is generally quite high, many people in rural areas around the city continue to face a very difficult day-to-day reality. Costs of living tend to be high as most commodities have to be imported to the island, and many people struggle to afford basic goods.
Furthermore, infrastructure is less readily available in rural areas: for example, around 1 in 10 people living in rural areas around Beau-Bassin-Rose Hill do not have access to improved sanitation facilities and schools are often far away. This has devastating effects on children.
In recent years, Mauritius’ production for export has declined. The sugar and textiles industries, which are the main source of income for most families in rural areas, are among the most affected. People have to fall back on farming or fishing, but the income they are able to generate this way is minimal.
Many families do not have enough land to provide sufficient food, and soil erosion, droughts and floods pose a threat. Furthermore, unemployment rates have been on the rise in recent years. Most affected are women and young people – youth unemployment in the area is as high as 21 %.