Rodrigues, a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, belongs to the African state of Mauritius. Lying 600 Km isolated from the mainland, it leads, in many ways, a Cinderella-like existence. The around 36,000 islanders are predominately fishermen and/or farmers. However, the fishermen can barely make a living as the lagoons fail to provide fish and the general consequences of over-fishing take their toll. With no other industries offering alternative work, the unemployment rate is therefore high. There are a few hotels and guesthouses, but because the hoped-for tourism branch leaves a lot to be desired, job vacancies are also scarce here.
On Rodrigues, many children are born disabled. The main causes for this are inbreeding and /or acute alcohol abuse. In most cases, the affected children have little or no hearing abilities, or have very poor eyesight. Some are mentally handicapped. In general, they do not attend kindergarten or normal schools. Many parents give away their disabled children to grandparents, aunts or other relatives, as one prefers to ‘decorate’ oneself with model children.
If the disabled children of Rodrigues are given the chance of a deserved development and education, they will someday be able to provide for themselves, despite difficulties faced living on a small island. Several of the children attending the school for the disabled could become active in the CareCo Workshop, where they will make small handcrafts from coconuts and even an English award winning delicious honey.
The company Binder assists the Gonzague Pierre Louis Special Learning Centre via the German charity organisation ‘Verein Wunschträume/ Netzwerk für Mädchen- & Frauenprojekte e.V.’