Mauritius: A young woman striving against all odds

Date: October 9, 2019
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Roshnee is a bright, young woman who will sit for her HSC exams later this year. This 18-year-old woman has a long bucket list. Her biggest dream is to get a seat at a university and to pursue her studies. She is currently studying Sociology, Economics and Hindi as her main subjects and, French and General Paper as her subsidiary subjects. She loves to study, to read books and to play volleyball and badminton.

Roshnee nurtures many dreams yet she also has to transcend many barriers in order to achieve her goals. Both of her parents are alcoholic. Her mother is a victim of domestic violence and started drinking in order to deal with the physical and emotional trauma. None of them has a stable job. They do not have a fixed residence and for most part of their life, they have been moving from house to house. Roshnee remembers days when as the eldest child, she had to look for ways to feed her 7 siblings as there was no food at home. Sometimes the owners of the houses that they rented would cut their supply of electricity and water for months because both parents were not working and were just drinking. Roshnee studied for her CPE exams under the light of a single candle.

Despite all these adversities, Roshnee was able to pass both her CPE and her O-Level. Given these harsh circumstances, Roshnee temporarily went to live with her grandmother whom she affectionately calls Dadi. She received the love and care that she lacked from her grandmother. Under the care of her grandmother, she was able to experience a real childhood for a short span of time. Roshnee clearly recalls the day when along with her parents and siblings, she spent one night in a region infested with drug users. Roshnee and her siblings were shortly taken under the responsibility of CDU and moved to SOS Children’s Village.

Roshnee is still perturbed by her past experiences. She still wonders why her parents chose alcohol over their happy family life. Roshnee’s siblings are her only strength and happiness. She wants to work and buy a house so that she can rebuild her broken family. She does not let her past dictate her present. She is striving and crossing barriers so that she can fulfill every goal in her bucket list. Roshnee has integrated the Safe Haven Halfway Home family in December 2017. Sheistah Bundhoo, the Shelter Manager, and Dev Virahsawmy help her in her studies through free after-school tuitions. Roshnee intends to look for a job after her exams so that she can earn some money to pay her university fees.