NATION

Raj In Tears

An elderly woman from a squatter settlement in Suva was moved to tears as she was presented with her monthly food voucher yesterday. Brij Raj, 72, a resident at the
08 Jan 2015 13:09
Raj In Tears
Social welfare recipients, Sereana Leba (left), and Brij Raj with the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar at the Department of the Social Welfare office in Suva yesterday. Photo: DEPTFO News

An elderly woman from a squatter settlement in Suva was moved to tears as she was presented with her monthly food voucher yesterday.

Brij Raj, 72, a resident at the Fiji Muslim League Estate in Nabua, Suva, was among the thousands of social welfare recipients that flocked to the Department of Social Welfare office in Suva yesterday to collect their food vouchers.

For the last three years, Ms Raj had been renting at the estate with her son.

She was emotional when Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar presented her with her food voucher yesterday.

“If it wasn’t for the welfare assistance, I don’t know how I would have looked after my son who is paralysed after a stroke. I am also old and sickly, I can’t work anymore so it’s through welfare’s monthly food voucher and cash allowances, I am able to support myself and my son,” Ms Raj said in tears.

“It’s also encouraging to see that the Government has also increased the food voucher from $30 to $50. For poor families like mine, welfare assistance is all that helps us to carry on through life.”

She is one of the many recipients from squatter and informal settlements who are supported through the ministry’s Poverty Benefit Scheme and Care and Protection Programme.

Ms Raj also commended her neighbour, Sereana Leba, who was always assisting her frequently.

“I sometimes help Ms Raj, by cooking food, washing her clothes and when she is sick, we even take her to the hospital. I believe that the people should have a compassionate heart for the less fortunate members of our communities,” Mrs Leba said.

Meanwhile, Ms Akbar said the Ministry would continue its awareness programmes to reach out and assist families in Fiji.

The ministry had conducted consultations in Labasa, Korovou, Navua, Lautoka and Naitasiri.

– Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS)–has a total of 18,093 recipients

– Care & Protection Allowance (C&P) is assisting more than 5000 children (including those in Residential Homes)

– Food Voucher Program (provided to over 20,000 recipients of PBS and C&P)-increased from $30 to $50 monthly voucher as of January 2015.

– Social Pension Scheme (SPS)-currently assists 11,615 senior citizens who are over 70 years and above. Eligibility criteria for this Scheme will reduce from age 70 to 68 from July 2015. The SPS has been increased to $50 from $30.

– Bus Fare Subsidy has over 42,000 beneficiaries

– Welfare Graduation Programme has empowered more than 250 families to transit from welfare to workfare

– Expanded Food Voucher Programme-1003 pregnant mothers in rural areas are benefiting from this Programme

 

 




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