In order to promote the welfare of senior citizens aged 55 and above the Mauritian Government has been operating a non-contributory universal pension to all people 60 years and older since 1976. These older persons are also entitled to travel freely on public transport. In addition, social assistance, such as income support, free wheelchairs, hearing aids, dentures and eyeglasses, as well free healthcare are also being provided to those that have low incomes. Moreover, the Government has promulgated the Protection of Elderly Persons Act 2005 which provides a legal and administrative framework to ensure that adequate protection is available to older people (be it physical, verbal, mental, emotional or material).
This system also includes the Basic Widow’s Pension for all widows under the age of 60 years; the Basic Invalid’s Pension for all people between age 15 and 60 years who were at least 60 per cent permanently disabled; and the Basic Orphan’s Pension for all orphans up to the age of 15 years (or 20 years if in full-time education).
There are various social protection schemes in operation in Mauritius in order to take care of abandoned children or orphans. As already pointed out, a non-contributory universal orphan’s pension is paid under the National Pensions Scheme. A guardian’s allowance is also paid to those people who agree to take orphans under their care. Similar benefits are paid with respect to abandoned children under the Social Aid Act. If nobody is willing to take care of an orphan or abandoned child, the child is then referred to institutionalised care in orphanages run by NGOs, which are financially supported by the government.