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New Start For Chand

New Start For Chand
Ravi Chand (sitting far right) with the other trainees of the centre in Colo-i-Suva. Photo: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation
August 29
08:13 2015

The Government’s rehabilitation centre for beggars at Colo-i-Suva continues to benefit individuals like Ravi Chand.

For Mr Chand, 50, living on the streets during the last seven years was never easy after losing his entire family to terminal illness and a road accident and his house burning down in 2008.

He was forced to live on the streets of Suva looking for food, shelter and employment. Today, the same man has started a new life, thanks to the Government’s rehabilitation programme at its Good Samaritan Inn in Colo-i-Suva.

Mr Chand is one of the seven men who are currently being trained at the centre after being identified by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and Fiji Police, during the beggars’ profiling exercise in the Central Dvision.

Mr Chand moved into the centre three months ago where he now sleeps in a proper home, has a place to shower, cook, and eat and most importantly having a group of friends to work with, live, laugh and pray together is something Mr Chand has longed for years.

“I had faced many challenges on the streets and just when I thought that my life was about to end, I was saved by a dedicated team of Government officials. The people I met through Operation Loloma gave a new meaning to my life,” Mr Chand said.

He said his feeling of being useless all changed at the centre where he was counseled and assisted to develop a positive outlook.

“This centre is my family now; in here I have found the courage to start a new life. I have vowed to work hard and earn a life of honor. I have planted cabbages, tomatoes and dalo, which will be sold to the nearby communities. I hope to save some money and one day set up a vegetable stall that would help me to become financially independent,” he said.

The “Operation Loloma” team is being led by Minister Rosy Akbar. To date it has assisted six individuals who were found begging, by equipping them with new skills and tools to venture into areas of vegetable selling, bean cart and catering.

The centre was opened in February as a half-way home to assist those who have been begging or living on the streets.

This facility is looked after by the ministry in partnership with the Nazarene Church of Fiji.

Meanwhile the ministry in partnership with Fiji Muslim League is also working on a similar project called Makoi Women’s Vocational and Training Centre.

The centre, which is yet to be opened, will provide skills training and employment opportunities for women, including those women who are found begging on the streets.



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