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Minister Visits Rehab Centre

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar, last Saturday visited the Good Samaritan Inn, the rehabilitation centre for beggars at Colo-i-Suva. The centre, which was officially opened
03 Aug 2015 23:58
Minister Visits  Rehab Centre
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar (standing second from right), while taking a tour around Suva City early last Saturday morning. Photo: Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar, last Saturday visited the Good Samaritan Inn, the rehabilitation centre for beggars at Colo-i-Suva.

The centre, which was officially opened last February, was built with funding of $100,000 from the Government to provide skills training and economic empowerment for homeless and less fortunate men, precisely those who have been begging on the streets.

There are seven male beggars staying at the centre who are being provided with income-generating opportunities as part of their rehabilitation programme to drive them towards self-reliance and decent livelihoods.

These men were identified through the ministry’s beggars profiling exercise and most of them have been living on the streets for more than three years.

The team led by Minister Akbar with Permanent Secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta and social welfare director Rupeni Fatiaki were briefed about the achievements and challenges faced by the centre.

The trainees were also given the opportunity to interact with the Minister and discuss their plans to acquire a better living for themselves.

Centre manager Reverend Taitusi Vaka said through mentoring and counselling sessions, the men regained their confidence to realise their true potentials.

“We have divided them into groups and they are occupied with activities like catering and farming.

“They plant vegetables and rootcrops like cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum, cassava, dalo and green veggies, which are sold to nearby villages and settlements.

“One of the trainees, who had started at the centre, has found a job at Motibhai and now he is renting a place of his own. That is our first success story and we hope that the others will find similar opportunities to progress in their lives.

“However, changing their mindset is a challenge and the very reason we focus on their personality development while trying to give them a new way to earn their living, rather than begging on the streets,” Rev Vaka said.

Meanwhile, Minister Akbar has emphasised on the importance of care and compassion, as being the key strategy to foster positive changes in these individuals.

“These men have been through a lot, some of them don’t have any families and this is the only place they regard as their home.

“There are those who had lived on the streets for years and the centre is a place where they find their strength to begin a new life and become self-reliant.

Minister Akbar also took a tour of the streets of Suva early last Saturday morning to meet with the homeless and mentally challenged who were found sleeping on the streets.

During the tour, the Ministry spotted 14 people who were found taking shelter on the streets in Suva.

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