From a small primary school in a sleepy town, my high school experience was a complete change of scene. Most of my classmates came from affluent families of politicians, doctors, businessmen and diplomats. Everyone seemed to wear branded clothing, high end shoes and accessories. Thankfully, we all had the same equalising uniform.
Unsurprisingly, I did what we all do and compared myself to my teenage peers. “Kifer zame mo pena naryen moi?” became a familiar refrain at home to which Maman would inevitably reply “To pa kone ki sans to ena tifi”.
It’s around that time that Maman volunteered us to make dinner for a nearby children’s refuge regularly, where she’d teach yoga to the kids, and then as a family, we’d all eat at the communal table together. On the very first day, I bonded with ease with the children, through storytelling. Alibaba et les quarante voleurs. Later, that evening, the matron would share with me that one of girls who had recently arrived at the shelter, didn’t have a jumper for the winter. Suddenly my own preloved wardrobe felt so abundant. I remember telling Maman on the way home,“Mo ena 2 bon triko. Les mo gard nwar la, anou done Sandra saki ble la.”
With this powerful lesson on altruism and kindness, my mother forever changed my heart from a place of want and lacking to one filled with gratitude and compassion. In learning to share, I experienced what is known as the warm-glow giving effect or the helper’s high, that sense of joy and satisfaction that we get when we help others.
Why am I telling you this today?
Because too often, we feel immense societal pressure to keep up with our peers. It is human nature to want. To want more. To focus on what’s next. Ek osi vey zafer to voizin ek konpar ar to kamarad. Why do we do this to ourselves? And in doing so, what are we teaching our kids?
Right now, we’re all facing increased costs of living and it hurts. Not just our wallets but our morale too. Cassiya’s Ici Kot Nou Ete still resonates today with “seki ena bokou pa le partaze, seki pena pe dimann sarite, get sa lot la pe atan lospitalite”. In the last two weeks alone, there were two instances of children referred to the Child Development Unit by their family citing lack of financial resources.
The Covid pandemic showed us how life can change in an instant. Let’s not forget those important life lessons in our yearning to get on with the new normal. Research shows that compassionate people experience higher levels of wellbeing, happiness, health, and longevity.
Let’s give more to those who need it. To the silent ones carrying heavy burdens with a smile. Let’s give because it is in giving that we receive.
There is no set benchmark for giving but a starting point could be 1-5% of earnings. Our muslim brothers and sisters do the zakat, where traditionally 1/40 of one’s wealth is earmarked to help the needy. Today, take two minutes to think about those around you. Who could use a hand? Someone going through a separation. Another moving house. Someone you know might have a sick child or a dying parent. Someone else might have lost their job. How might you help? Rs500 a month for example could sponsor a child’s maths tuition.
If things are a little tough right now, there are many ways of giving that don’t involve money. If you know a new mum with limited family support, maybe cook a little extra and drop it off once a week for her family. Offer to connect a friend who lost his or her job to your network. Help tutor your neighbour’s child at the same time you’re looking at your kids’ homework. Join a sharing group and donate those clothes or books you no longer need. Visit a sick relative at the hospital with a warm meal and a hug. And if you’re newly retired, like my mum, teach a complimentary yoga class at the local community centre!
Time, money, kindness, a smile, anou donn saki nou kav, anou partage saki nou ena.
Start today. There will never be a perfect time – it’ll always be busy. Let’s make the rest of 2022 count. Join me in committing to one act of kindness a week, for the rest of the year. Challenge yourself to make twenty feel-good memories. Get the kids involved! Make it a challenge and share your inspiring stories. I promise, it’s one of those investments you’ll never regret!
Anou koz kas – Your money questions answered
“Ketvi, mo kamarad so zanfan ena 18an. Li fek komans travay ek linn pran funeral insurance are enn fond mutuel. Ki to panse?” Shanti.
Shanti, mersi to fer nou fer enn ti matematik ansam zordi. Zordi zour, average life expectancy dan moris 74.5an – pou misie 71an e pou madam 79an. Si par exanp to kamarad so zanfan komans kotiz Rs200 par mwa ek kontribision la pa monte, li pou inn pey (200*12)*(74.5-18) anviron Rs 135,600 ziska so zour arive. Li bien bon pans le fitir me fode konpar (1) komie funeray saki li anvi pou koute, (2) komie li ti pou gagne si li ti investi kas la enn lot plas, (3) ki kantite funeral insurance la pou done si enn zour kiksoz arive.
Share your acts of kindness with us and send your money questions via instagram @mauritiusmoneyandme or email email@example.com.
Disclaimer – Information in this column is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal financial situation. It is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.
Before making financial decisions, consider seeking independent financial advice tailored to your individual needs.