School material kits were distributed, today, to 397 beneficiaries under the Social Register of Mauritius (SRM) from the regions of Vallée Pitot, Plaine Verte, Vallée des Prêtres, and Cité la Cure, at the Gorah Issac Municipal Centre, Port Louis. This initiative is a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity and the National Empowerment Foundation.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management, Dr Mohammad Anwar Husnoo; the Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo; the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, as well as other eminent personalities were present.
In his address, Vice-Prime Minister Husnoo highlighted that school kits are being distributed to eligible students under the SRM from the pre-primary, primary, secondary, and pre-vocational levels. He also dwelt on the importance of education for all, especially underprivileged children. Education is a significant step towards bringing about a change in the society, because, if these children are educated, only then, will the future of our country will be bright, he said.
Dr Husnoo thus encouraged all parents to send their children to school as when people are educated, they can significantly contribute to their families and society in various aspects and fields, thus creating a stable and stimulating community.
Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, he underlined that the virus is not going to go away soon adding that for now, precautionary measures and vaccination are critical. He appealed to the population to abide by all sanitary measures and to get inoculated.
For her part, the Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, recalled that as at date 5 300 school materials in Mauritius and 2 100 materials in Rodrigues have already been distributed. While lauding the benefits of education in society, she encouraged parents to persevere and to support and guide their children so that they can succeed in life.
She emphasised that Government, in line with its vision of alleviating poverty and promoting social inclusion through empowerment, has put in place several poverty alleviation and empowerment programmes in a bid to ensure maximum coverage of vulnerable families eligible under the SRM, and provide them with the necessary support and empowerment to facilitate their social integration in a sustainable manner. They include: the Subsistence Allowance Scheme, the Crèche Scheme, the School Materials Scheme, and the School Premium Scheme.
Furthermore, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo indicated that more people are on the SRM since those within the range of poverty threshold have increased from 9 250 to 10 520. She added that a National Database for Vulnerable Groups has been created whereby those earning between Rs 10,500 to Rs 14,000 will benefit from same advantages as those under the SRM except financial support.
The Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, pointed out that the distribution of school materials is an important exercise for those in difficulty. He underscored that poverty should not be a barrier for the advancement of education and appealed to parents to send their children to school since education reduces poverty and it paves the way for all kinds of opportunities.
Distribution exercise of school materials
The distribution exercise of school materials started on 03 July 2021 in Mauritius and will last till 28 July 2021. The distribution plan was extended due to red zones which were decreed in several regions across the country.
For the island of Rodrigues, the distribution exercise started on 21 July 2021 and has been completed by 27 July 2021. The number of school materials to be distributed for both Mauritius and Rodrigues is 5 816 and 2 810, respectively.
School materials which are distributed include three sets of uniforms, two pairs of shoes, three pairs of socks, school bag, copy books, and pencil case. This year because of COVID-19, a cash grant will be given for the purchase of shoes as they have not been received yet. School bags will also be distributed in August.