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  • This father of the family, sick: “More than half a day of work and earned Rs 300 for no time sleeping before vid”

Behind every home there is a story, sometimes happy, sometimes dark. This week, focus on the Iqbal family, whose daily life is marked by immense challenges and an incessant fight against poverty. Their modest house, although it offers them shelter against the vagaries of the climate, symbolizes the precariousness of their existence.

In Sainte-Croix, more precisely at Cemetery Road, we met the Iqbal family. Ajmal, aged 52, is the father of four children: a 10-year-old boy and three girls aged 5, 3 and 1 respectively. His wife, Zainab, only 30 years old, is six months pregnant. With the imminent arrival of this fifth child, the family is preparing to grow even more, which further complicates an already precarious financial situation.

From 1996 to 2016, Ajmal, who studied up to SC, lived in France. Then he returned permanently to Mauritius where he married Zainab religiously. Subsequently, he worked as a street vendor, then took on various jobs. Since June 2021, Ajmal has found a job as a guard and watches over the Shias cemetery, located in Riche-Terre, for a monthly salary of Rs 15,300. He is satisfied with his employer, who provides him with accommodation. However, after deductions for electricity and water, he is left with only Rs 13,000 to feed and support his family. This amount is insufficient to cover all expenses. This is why the fifty-year-old sometimes sells small items in front of the Tuna Fishing compound in the afternoon. “I worked for a long time and earned Rs 300 before sleeping,” confides Ajmal, with tears in his eyes. Yet, despite his illness, he does everything possible for his family.

Victim of four burglaries

The couple's eldest son lives with his maternal grandfather and attends school in Doha. Unfortunately, the two girls aged 3 and 5 cannot go to school due to lack of documents certifying their address. Furthermore, the neighborhood where they live is infamous for its insecurity. Ajmal's house was broken into four times and his children's meager provisions and personal belongings were stolen. “Pandan mwa Ramadan, we won our donation from our society. With my baby there, I have a veterinarian for my baby, provision and dilation for the baby. Everything was stolen. The new clothes that I had bought for Eid, the milk, the diapers, and even a few goods to sell, as well as some money,” says the father of the family, his voice breaking with sadness. He filed a complaint at the Terre-Rouge police station, but so far he has not recovered anything.

Despite these ordeals, Ajmal and Zainab keep smiling in front of their children, hiding the pain and despair they feel. Like so many other families affected by poverty, they cling to the hope of a better future. Their faith sustains them and they never fail to say their prayers, hoping that one day their situation will improve. For this, they will need a new home, hence Ajmal's cry of distress to the government to obtain a house from the NHDC, so that his children and his wife can live in more dignified conditions. He also seeks help from generous souls who could provide them with provisions, milk for his baby, diapers and clothes for his children.

Anyone who would like to help can contact Ajmal directly on 5819 7612.

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