5 Mauritian Women You Should Know About .

Ornella LaFleche
The amazing Ornella LaFleche, only 21, represented Mauritius at the Miss Universe 2019. She is the 32nd woman to represent the country in the international beauty pageant run by the Miss Universe Organisation. The Marketing Management student represented the Beau Bassin/Rose Hill region. What makes Ornella truly inspirational is her aspirations to have her own non-government organisation for children who are victims of sexual abuse. She boldly uses her platform to be vocal about her social work, addressing the issue with great articulation and sensitivity. Amazingly accomplished, she’s a role model for young Mauritian women everywhere, which is definitely why she’s a Mauritian woman you should know about.

Eileen Karen Lee Chin Foo Kune
The amazing Eileen Karen Lee Chin Foo Kune ! Born 29 May 1982 is a Mauritian badminton player, turned politician. Two times Mauritian Sportswoman of the Year (2004, 2009), ranked first in the African continent on several occasions. She once participated at the Olympic Games (2008) and made it to the Commonwealth Games on several occasions (2002, 2006, 2010).In 2011, she won the bronze medals at the All-Africa Games in the women’s doubles and mixed team event. An amazing role model to Mauritian women in the world of sport, which is why she’s a Mauritian woman you should know about.

Nioun Chin Elodie Li Yuk Lo
The fantastic Nioun Chin Elodie Li Yuk Lo, born 29 September 1982, is a Mauritian beach volleyball player. As of 2012, she plays with Natacha Rigobert. The pair participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics tournament and were eliminated after losing their three pool matches against Brazil, the Czech Republic and Germany finishing 19th overall after the games. Elodie enters her third year on the Varsity Blues bench. During her five years at the University of Toronto, she was the OUA East division rookie of the year in 2001-02, a two-time OUA second team all-star and won the OUA East division award of merit in 2005-06. Another amazing role model to Mauritian women in the world of sport, which is why she’s a Mauritian woman you should know about !

Yuvna Kim
Next up we have the talented Yuvna Kim, a Mauritian-born, London-based fashion designer, model, and TV entertainment journalist. Born on the island of Mauritius, raised in the town of Vacoas-Phoenix, in the Plaines William District of Mauritius Island. In 2002 Kim attended the Faculty of Law at University College of London. She pursued a brief career in the legal professions. In 2012, Kim launched her London-based fashion label Yuvna Kim London. Her atelier specialises in bridal couture and Red Carpet gowns. She dressed celebrities like Pixie Lott and Rochelle Humes. Academically and creatively accomplished, which is why she’s a Mauritian woman you should know about !

Mélanie René Trujillo
Singing sensation, Mélanie René Trujillo (born 1 September 1990) is a Swiss singer and songwriter of Mauritian origin. She represented Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song “Time to Shine”. As a daughter of musicians, Mélanie René discovered her passion for music at the age of seven – and for several years she trained in the performing arts and song-writing at the Funambule Theatre in Nyon, Switzerland. Talented and bold, she yet another Mauritian woman you should know about!

The Night Of Review- An exposure of the treatment of South Asian Males in the American Justice System

The Night Of, starring Riz Ahmed as college student, Nasir Khan, a young wide-eyed boy of Pakistani descent, who steals his father’s taxi to drive himself to a party in New York leading to a series of tumultuous events, is one of the most binge worthy and gritty serial dramas I have seen in a long time. The show exposes the predatory nature of the justice system in America, in particular the experiences of people of colour. Nasir, although innocent, is dragged into the violent, abusive, and monstrous world of a male prison, transforming him from a clean cut intelligent college student into a cocaine addict, hateful, hurt and eventually leaving prison with a mountain of mental health issues. I have to admit bias as Ahmed is one of my favourite actors, after watching Four Lions, and his stint on GIRLS, his natural on screen presence, talent as actor, and London accent makes me fan girl a little too much. It was also so great to see an actor of South Asian descent take the lead in an American HBO series as a protagonist deferring away from stereotypical portrayals of South Asian characters in Western television shows.

The plot is simple which maintains the grey realism throughout, and allows for great intricacy later on. As Nasir drives his father’s taxi, a young woman hops into the back of the car thinking Nasir to be an on duty driver. He seems taken by the opportunity to spend the night with a beautiful woman and drives her around New York. They spend the evening drinking against the backdrop of New York’s streets, and take various drugs. Nasir drives her back to her place. They play a game of manoeuvring a knife between their fingers whilst placed on the table, and eventually have sex. Nasir then awakens in the middle of the night to finds a bloody scene, gruesome and inescapable. The woman dead, and has been stabbed 22 times. Blood covers the whole bed and her entire body. Nasir does not remember killing her. The purpose of The Night Of isn’t to figure out who did it, who killed the victim, but instead it is to showcase the struggle of Nasir, a young Muslim boy of South Asian descent, as he goes into criminal justice system innocent and slowly transforms into a hardened criminal as a mechanism to survive in prison. His lawyer, Jack Stone (John Turturro), is as useless as his eczema ridden itchy feet. He’s divorced, and regularly sleeps with prostitutes. He never wins cases and is a lawyer who seems to toil only for a fee but one look at Nasir’s pure and scared face seems to push him to see his Ahmed’s innocence.

The grey pallet of the show is perfect of what The Night Of aim to speak for, which is how poorly Muslims are treated within the American prison system, which is fundamentally flawed. Prejudice on all spectrums, when present in ignorance can invade every action of our of lives, whether it be in our mannerisms towards one another, or in the place of work, our education system, which in turn shapes the lives and self images we project into future generations. Ultimately unintended consequences of those prejudices can ruin lives. The Night Of is an amazing show, you will not regret giving Nasir your time.

Menstruation around the World

Western MEDC access to correct information about sexual health and hygiene from an early age, be it in the house hold, or within the education system, has allowed both young men and women within these educated environments to treat the matter with a standing of everyday normative value. The systematics of sexual health, and access to care and help, has resulted in this topic becoming common information, known and understood by the young and over. Menstrual healthcare products are available in abundance allowing women to carry on with their jobs, normal activities and everyday lives. Unfortunately these basic privileges that we take for granted are not accessible to many girls around the world, whom instead receive taboo-laden, incorrect information about their menstrual cycle and hygiene, which in turn result in illness, infection, detriment to mental health, education and financial circumstances.
Female students in Bolivia often carry used menstrual pads in their backpacks all day due to the fact that they are told that menstrual blood is incredibly dangerous, and can cause diseases like cancer if it’s mixed in with common rubbish. This information alone is unsanitary and imprints onto these young girls the complex that their period could be the cause of external disease, thus instilling a negative view of reproductive health, simultaneously promoting the practice of unhygienic practices that could be detrimental to health.
In many other countries tampons are banned due to the myth that it will cause the hymen to break and rob the wearer of their virginity. In addition to this access to sanitary towels and sexual health education in many countries around the world is limited or virtually unavailable. It is a basic human right that every single girl in the world should have access to sanitary towels and tampons, as well as sexual health education.
There is a lot of global stigmatisation surrounding menstruation and without the appropriate education there are limited resources to defeat ignorance. A lack of menstrual management is one of the main causes of reproductive tract infections in women globally.
A quote from Femme International states in their ‘2014 study in Nairobi’s Mathare Valley slum that over 75% of girls had no idea what menstruation was before they got their first period – causing them to feel scared, confused and embarrassed.’
Donations to various organisations such as Femme International provide Femme Kits to young women all around the world. Just being positive about the concept of periods can help break the stigma. These kits can allow girls to go to school and not have to miss out on an education simply because they are menstruating. It gives them independence and security, as well as showing them that they are important. They deserve to feel clean and safe whilst menstruating. They deserve to feel empowered and strong because a period is a pretty beautiful thing.

Women Bylines

Women Bylines, is a project I read about online organised by a ‘CHIME FOR CHANGE.’ And it is something amazing that I think everyone should know about. So much of what we read, hear, and see in the media shapes the way in which we see the world, which is why this project is so essential. It is one that is devoted to celebrating the voices of marginalised women of today.

Women Bylines as a projects sets up a series of workshops, in which established professionals in fields such as journalism and creative writing, mentor other women, aiding them in devising ways to tell their own unique stories in their own creative ways. They are brought forth into a space of security, confidence and professional guise in order to share their stories of under-represented females globally. By sharing these important stories of struggle and hardship directly from the pen of these marginalised women, ‘Women Bylines,’ has the potential to change and shape the way in which people see the world. It highlights importance and value the lives of women, who have too often been ignored and belittled by society today.

The first Chime for Change Women Bylines project event was held in 2015 in Erbil, Iraq . Renowned and successfully established journalist and activist Mariane Pearl, who also serves as a project manager on Women Bylines, lead a workshop on the art of storytelling for women who were Yazidi and Christian refugees recovering after fleeing ISIS.

The result of this project is the deliverance of stories that echoe the universal truth of the fact that when women come together in unity to tell their stories, they are impactful, helpful, and deep fully resonant.

Pearl noted that in her opinion after working with these women, there was no difference between them and French women. For the Yazidi women the intense workshopping was transformative. Ranging from women who were just ending their education at university, to women years into fully fledged careers, Women Bylines left all inspired to share their stories with the world.

Good As Hell

I think I watched Lizzo’s VMA performance about 20 times, and each time I remember thinking this woman is a goddess. She empowered me, her performance empowered me. It was as if she was speaking directly to me. She exclaims on the MIC dressed in a fucking bomb AF yellow shiny body suit ‘They don’t have to know your story to know that you are tired of the bullshit too. It so hard trying to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back. Am I right ?’ Hell yes, you ARE right Lizzo. She was amazing ! She owned that stage and made every woman watching her feel not only amazing, but understood. When she screamed ‘You deserve to feel good as HELL!’ I felt like I was listening to holy words. You deserve to feel good as HELL, because you are a woman. We live in a world that is constantly trying to define our experiences as women, how we dress, how we behave, how we view our bodies, our sexual and reproductive rights, our domestic lives, the way we conduct ourselves in relationships and in the work place, our thought processes and the boundaries of ‘appropriateness’ when it comes to what it means to be a woman in society. But Lizzo’s message is one that is beautiful. Love yourself. The world is a difficult place and life will take you through many rings of fire so sometimes all you have is yourself. Love you’re body, do not dance to societal boundaries of perfection. Do not closet your beauty or your power. Look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate your FINE SELF. Scream it until you feel it in every stretch mark and wrinkle. BABY HOW YOU FEELIN’ ? GOOD AS HELL !!!

Light of Hope

‘When women and girls rise, their communities and countries rise with them.”
The words of Michelle Obama hold within them the roots and foundations of what it takes to make the world great. Educate a girl and she can go forth and change the world. I remember watching an UNICEF advertisement depicting a woman being surrounded by cameras and reporters congratulating her on a scientific breakthrough that could potentially change the face of medicine. The camera’s then stop flashing, and the woman’s voice becomes that of a child exclaiming ‘there is no break through…. I died at the age of 8.’ The tone becomes haunting and the camera focuses on the innocent face of a child. What rings true in the world we live in today is the fact that 62 million girls in the world are denied the human right of education. The reasons ranging from poverty, lack of health care, forced marriage and/or simply because they are girls. Here are some statistics :
 15 year old girls and older make up 2/3 of the world’s illiterate population (493 million)
 In Kenya, an estimated 3.5 million children are in the labor market, and school drop outs are on the ride
 33% of girls in Kenya have been raped by the time they have reached the age of 18
 The number one killer of girls under the age of 15 is early childhood births
 1.6 million people are living with HIV in Kenya. 65% of the children living with HIV are on the anti-retroviral therapy and an estimated 660,000 are orphaned because of it.

Condensing these obstacles and evaluating them alongside the fact that even when there is the ability and resources to educate girls, investment tends to be directed at boys , it is clear that what the world is telling females that they are the undervalued gender and life is something that will be difficult and unfair to navigate. The denial of access to education fuels gender-based violence, and this leads to an increase in inequality further preventing female assertion in relationships, domestic life and the work place.
However there is hope, there is a pathway to change. Female education and communal support is the answer. One such example of this is the Light of Hope School in Kenya that empowers the young girls. It strives to help these young women and their families break away from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse. It’s is a school that offers its students ‘more than academic enrichment.’
‘We care for the whole girl, providing food, shelter, health care, counseling, faith, and education in a safe and loving family environment. What’s more, thanks to our partnership with Elimu Foundation, we’re able to support each girl’s higher education aspirations, giving her the tools she needs to live a rich and full life.’
School’s like the Light of Hope School, are changing the world because they are giving girls access to education so they can grow and dream, and become the women who will make a dent in the universe unapologetically, fiercely, and with supreme excellence.

Defeating the HIV stigma

Stigma is often the result of ignorance, and ignorance can be defeated by education. In the beautiful words of Michel Sidibé, ‘Whenever AIDS has won, stigma, shame, distrust, discrimination and apathy was on its side. Every time AIDS has been defeated, it has been because of trust, openness, dialogue between individuals and communities, family support, human solidarity, and the human perseverance to find new paths and solutions.’ A detrimental cyclical pattern exists in line with the stigmatisation and discrimination surrounding HIV. The effects of stigma act to marginalise groups, making them even more vulnerable to HIV. This exists in conjunction with the fact that those living with HIV are made more vulnerable to the effects of discriminatory stigmatisation.
According to UNAIDS’ article ‘On the fast track to end AIDS by 2030’ a shocking statistic reveals ‘over 50% of people report having discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV.’ Individuals who are most at risk experience the effects of the stigma and discrimination dependent on their perceived conditions of health, sexual orientation, racial identity, socioeconomic background, as well as other multiple factors. In certain circumstances, women living with HIV are stripped of their rights to access sexual health care. According to ‘Women of the Asian Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (2012)’ 37.7% of women living with HIV, in a six-country study in the Asia–Pacific region reported being subjected to involuntary sterilisation.
Many countries around the world heartbreakingly act to deport HIV positive individuals. This can negatively affect their treatment if the deportation is to a location with insufficient or out of date treatment practices. In addition to this, they may be deported to a country where they would experience further discrimination significantly detrimental to their fundamental human rights. There is a broken faith here. When human beings cannot hold each other up with respect and understanding what does that say about us?
It is ignorance that delivers the act of discrimination, and it is education that can help cure ignorance. The effects of stigma are heartbreaking and unfair. How do we change this?
We now live in a day and age where we can choose to be more knowledgeable about HIV, and this very act functions to destroy stigma. What it comes down to is the adherence of a human rights approach to tackling the stigmatisation attached to HIV and AIDS. It is discrimination that hinders HIV testing accessibility, thus resulting in the possibility of further transmission. Therefore the incorporation of lessons about HIV in schools and communities function to break down this wall.
UNAIDS and WHO’s Global Health Workforce Alliance have created the ‘Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Healthcare,’ which devotes time towards making healthcare accessible whilst creating an environment in which there is zero tolerance for discrimination. With education, openness, and kindness it is our responsibility as people to end the stigmatisation surrounding HIV and AIDS.