GIS - October 2, 2012: Around 3,000 elderly persons gathered yesterday at the J&J Auditorium in Phoenix to commemorate the International Day of the Elderly 2012 which focused on the rights of the elderly in an inclusive society. A quarterly newsletter on the activities of the Senior Citizens Council was launched on the occasion.
In her address, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs. Sheila Bappoo, praised the senior citizens for their contribution to the socio-economic development of the country. Such development, she said, is based on a long-term vision and political leadership that made the Welfare State a reality.
The current budget for Social Security amounts to Rs 11.3 billion, including Rs 7.25 billion for old-age pension. Government has made the acquisition of two luxury coaches to the tune of Rs 7.3m which will be attached to the Recreational Centres of Belle-Mare and Pointe-aux-Sables respectively. There are currently about 160,000 elderly citizens in the country, out of which 95 are centenarians. According to Mrs Bappoo, the vision of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was instrumental in building modern Mauritius.
Ten centenarians coming from different regions of the country were present at the event as special guests. One centenarian, Mr Dewoonarain Khedun, was on stage to give an account of his life while a one-hundred year-old lady, Mrs Eleonore Momplé, performed a dance item. Earlier, Minister Bappoo was in Henrietta where she paid a visit to Louis Clency Cabri, an elderly who has been paralysed for a long time.
To mark the International Day of the Elderly, anti-allergies pillows were distributed, under the Special Fund for the Welfare of the Elderly, operating under the aegis of the Ministry, to 460 elderly citizens suffering from respiratory problems. Other activities include the final of a drama competition with the participation of elderly persons, the launch of an Observatory on Ageing and the opening of a new Elderly Care Centre at Floréal. A get-together is scheduled at the Municipality of Curepipe for some 350 elderly persons living alone.
The United Nations International Day of the Elderly is celebrated annually on 1st October to recognise the contribution of senior citizens and to examine issues that affect their lives. The International Day of the Elderly was observed for the first time throughout the world on 1st October 1991. In 2002, the second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.