Poverty as Cultural Legacy: A reflection on the cultural resources of Mauritian Citizenship was the central theme of a talk held yesterday at Sir Harilal Vaghjee Hall in Port Louis at the initiative of the National Empowerment Foundation. Dr Jacques Rangasamy, M.B.E was the guest speaker who delivered the talk in the presence of the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Alain Wong Yen Cheong, and other several personalities.

In his address, Minister Wong recalled that the talk is a key event which is set to kick-start the calendar of activities marking the 2018 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is annually celebrated on 17 October. He also introduced Dr Rangasamy whose experience in the field of multicultural arts, he said, provides relevance on the delicate issue of poverty in Mauritius, a multicultural country with people of diverse backgrounds.

In his presentation, Dr Rangasamy pointed out that the question of poverty should be addressed within a cultural framework given that it is linked with cultural legacy. Poor people are victims of a vicious circle which contributes to a sense of defeatism. There is a cultural factor involved between people taking advantage of opportunities and those who remain rooted in their situation, he said.

The speaker referred to influential personalities such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela who have devoted themselves to promote equality and human rights. He elaborated on various factors in the fight against poverty which are namely a sense of presence, a sense of self, a sense of belonging and a sense of the future in the present.

With regard to promoting the rich cultural history of Mauritius, Dr Rangasamy underlined the need for its inclusion in the school curriculum for a better understanding of the ancestral linkages and the different cultures in our country.

Dr Rangasamy, is a Mauritian national who is currently living in the United Kingdom. He has been awarded an M.B.E for his academic and curatorial work in the field of Multicultural Arts. He has graduated from the Chelsea and Winchester Colleges of Art before embarking on postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art where he obtained his PhD. He has also lectured in universities in London, Oxford, Manchester, Portugal, Italy, France and the United States.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Declaration by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski who inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty and the recognition by UN as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The theme for 2018 is Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity.

Source: Source: Government of Mauritius