Zippy's Friends in Mauritius
10 years ago… Zippy landed in the Republic of Mauritius, a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean. It quickly adapted to the climate! and started its journey in 10 primary schools, meeting 1,045 children and 34 teachers. It was the first time that an emotional and social skills programme had been implemented in Mauritian schools. “This programme is crucial for our Mauritian children as there is a lot of emphasis on academic achievement in our educational system, whereas this program focuses on the child’s emotional and social well-being, which is crucial…” (Trained ZF teacher, 2009).
10 years later… Zippy has now been granted Mauritian nationality! And is gradually making its way to becoming a national school-based programme in all the primary schools. To date 25,355 children have participated in the programme, 865 teachers have been Zippy trained in more than 80 schools. The positive impact of Zippy’s Friends in schools can be observed at different levels:
- in the classroom: “Zippy’s Friends has created a new culture in the classroom where children feel respected and valued, and tend to be less aggressive towards their peers.“ (Head Master, 2017)
- for teachers: “My son and I both did Zippy’s Friends this year and it has been very useful in helping us to resolve our conflicts at home and finding different solutions to our problems.” (ZF Teacher, 2017).
- and for the children: ”Before I was scared to ask for help but since I did Zippy’s class it is easier for me to ask for help and I can also help my friends when they need it.” (ZF Child, 2016).
When we know that in 2018, at least one child per day is referred to the National Children Protection Instances as a victim of violence, and that 25% of the Mauritian population suffers from a mental health problem, we are grateful that Zippy’s Friends is now a Permanent Mauritian Resident in our schools to help promote good mental health for all children for life.