Mauritius: Dorise Cale

Date: August 23, 2018
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Dorise Cale is an active Village Councillor in the District Council of Black River. Residing in Richelieu, she knows the locality to bits. It was during the district level summit 2015 that Doris met with Gender Links and she says that she felt very at ease with everyone. She met those people for the first time in her life yet she felt that they all know each other. The atmosphere itself was such. She got along very well with the agenda and could easily share her ideas. She explains that she got a lot of help from the fellow councilors present to improve her existing work in her locality.

Dorise teaches literacy and numeracy to children who do not know how to read and write. Whichever their age, she teaches them the very basics and start working with them as they are. She does not have a set way of working. She adapts to the child’s learning style, gain his/her trust and make him/her love what s/he is being taught. Little by little, the child begins to gain courage and starts learning once again.

Dorise is equally a social worker and her priority is children; her own, in her community, and at the school she works. She also helps in taking care of vulnerable women in her locality. She helps in doing a lot of activities for women. She lives just in front of a school. She has worked as a “cantiniere” for three years. Due to this experience of hers, children are very open to her. They talk to her freely and she is lovingly called “Miss Dorise”. On one particular occasion, a child of standard one, climbed on a high wall fencing of the football ground of the school, saying he will commit suicide. Several teachers talked to him and after much difficulty they managed to convince him and calm him down. On hearing this, Dorise was scared and shocked, she went to talk to him and found out that he was a victim of bullying. She also does a lot of counselling. Parents come up to me late at night as well as several battered women with babies. She helps them out by doing the necessary actions. She then relays the information to the police and concerned institutions. After this, she makes sure that the people in difficulty are followed and monitored.

Given that she has access to a government school, she has been following a teacher which hasn’t been doing the work seriously. Out of 25 kids, only 3 passed. This confirmed the parents’ complaints. And thus the idea of Second Chance School started. She raised this idea at the village council and then the project was approved. She occupies the education department at the district council. They decided that children who are unable to keep up with their grades the school does a sort of catching up with them. Everyone agreed to give a helping hand. This was very encouraging. From the government school she got some books, some names of students who were not performing well, she went around the area and talked to the parents. She asked them the permission for the kids to follow the course. Even though she lives very modestly with little or no money, she started doing the classes with the kids. From hear say, more kids came and the group started to grow. That was very encouraging. Even though all this is done free of charge Dorise has never felt like she was in need of money.

Something that was said during the workshop marked her. Anushka mentioned a phrase “arret plorer comen ti fi” (stop crying like a girl) or “to en tifi aret faire couma garson” (you are a girl so stop acting as a boy).  It marked her because as a mum she is used to saying all these things. So, it made her think once and twice and many times. It then came to her how wrong her thoughts were. It was then that she realised the differences between sexes but in the end, we are all the same.

Dorise has been living in Riche Lieu for the past 25 years and she has been working with kids since 15 years. She says she has loved being with kids from a very young age. She believes it was God’s plan to make her live just in front of a school. All the kids in the area know her. They have turned her into a person full of love and affection. She never knew she could share this much love. This has strengthened her role, responsibility and position as a mother. This has made her realise that she is not only the mother of three, but she has a lot of kids.

Dorise explains how she has loved knowing GL. This organisation has made her move further ahead in her endeavour to help kids and women.