The association,Mahebourg Espoir, runs an educational centre which is far more than just an alternative form of school.  It was set up in 2009, after another cetre closed down and several young girls had nothing else to do – apartfrom roam the streets. It organises a whole range of activities for the youngsters beyond just preparing them to gain qualifications or learn a trade, so that they can end up in work, develop as individuals and lead useful lives.

Most of them end up so enthusiastic that they’re disappointed when there’s a public holiday and the centre’s closed. One of the reasons for Mahebourg Espoir’s success is that, in parallel, it provides support to the youngsters’ families, families often with a single mother at thehead.

Ambitious projects include an Early Learning Corner, now set up in Mahebourg, targeting youngsters from Cité-La-Chaux. There are plans to build 32 small houses in Cité-Tole, where the unemployment rate stands at 70%, as well as a crèche to enable more mothers to go out to work.

Environmental preservation is one of the many facets of life integrated into the centre’s activities. The youngsters were recently involved in supporting an Eco-Sud project, planting mangrove trees all along the coast road at Pointe Jerome. One day, perhaps, one or two of them will end up working for LUX* Resorts & Hotels. Given the drive and enthusiasm of the Centre’s volunteers, and their determination to draw these children out of poverty, anything’s possible!