Teenage pregnancy is getting more and more common worldwide, and Mauritius is no exception. This trend has been spiralling up, and, finding solutions to counter this scourge is getting increasingly challenging. A laudable initiative to curb the social troubles it causes has been launched by the Civic Movement of Baie-du-Tombeau, chaired by Rozy Khedoo.
A shelter for teenage, single mothers has been opened since one week already, welcoming young mothers together with their children. The aim behind constructing the shelter, named Abri deLumière, is to empower the teenage mums to allow them to find their place in society. Before they can independently cater for themselves and their children financially, the team of Abri de Lumière will assist them all they can.
The project will first function on a pilot basis. Currently, 6 single teenage mothers between 15 and 17 years of age have been admitted to the center. Five carers will be providing their services to assist the girls. Additionally, provision for two more carers has been made, in case the need arises.
For the project to have seen the light of the day, a massive investment of Rs 4 millions was made. The pecuniary aid was furnished by Caudan Communauté, Fondation Terra and the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB). The civic Movement has confessed needing more sponsors to be able to cater for the needs of the girls. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has also been of great assistance to the setting up of the shelter.
The home includes a well-maintained garden, equipped with cameras both on the outside and on the premises of the shelter. The house consists of a reception room, a dining room serving as a living room as well, a kitchen, and bathrooms and toilets. Also, a large hall has been made available for activities that will be held on the grounds of the shelter, including individual sessions with a psychologist.
The basic needs of the girls and their kids, as well as their psychological well-being, have been taken care of. Anishta Gunness has been hired as the permanent psychologist of Abri de Lumière. Also, doctors have provided beneficial pieces of advice, pertinent to the health and welfare of the girls and their children. The young mothers will also be empowered so that they may go out in the real world to earn their living. The shelter will be their new home, and it has not been designed to be a prison; the girls will be allowed to go out from time to time. The President, Rosie Khedoo, has nevertheless confessed her apprehensions concerning the girls. She has stated that, at times, the girls could be difficult to handle, and hence, the carers will have to act wisely and accordingly.
No such shelter has been conceived before in Mauritius. Abri de Lumiere is a first step in this direction: providing teenage single mums with the necessary tools to lead normal lives; as normal as it could.