NATION

Ministry Reaches Out To Street Beggars

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, through a co-ordinated taskforce, continues to reach out to address the plight of those who are found begging on the streets. A
05 Feb 2016 08:30
Ministry Reaches Out To Street Beggars
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar (right), speaks to some people while conducting the beggars’ profiling in Lautoka City. Photo: Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, through a co-ordinated taskforce, continues to reach out to address the plight of those who are found begging on the streets.

A team led by Minister Rosy Akbar recently conducted a profiling exercise of street beggars in Nadi, Lautoka and Ba.

The ministry has established a dedicated response team called, “Operations Loloma” with assigned vehicles, one in the Western Division and one in Central to monitor the streets.

Working together with relevant agencies is the way forward to tackle the street begging, says Ms Akbar.

“We have taken a collaborative approach to address the issue. We work with the municipal councils and Police to help us identify and address the root causes,” she said.

“We have taken a very caring and compassionate approach to address the challenges of those who resort to begging. Few of them have been trained and placed in income-generating programmes, some are doing well while others still need lot of mentoring and support. Changing their mindset continuous to be a challenge, however, the ministry is persistent in its approach to reach out to them and see the best way possible to help them acquire a dignified life.

“In the Western Division, 52 have been profiled into categories of mentally challenged, homeless, single mothers, widows, senior citizens and disabled. In Suva, 82 had been profiled, and 15 had been assisted through income-generating programmes. The ministry had also reunited some of them with their families, once again we reiterate on the importance of their family support to restore peace and happiness in their lives.”

Meanwhile, there are 12 residents living at the Colo-i-Suva Rehabilitation Centre known as the, “Good Samaritan Inn,” that was officially opened last year by the ministry.

“Currently the main income-generating project that the centre provides is agriculture; the resident’s plant and sell root crops and vegetables. Two of the residents have found employment as security guards and two other are also waiting for confirmation into the employment sector.

“The ministry is also working closely with the Church of Nazarene to create new opportunities for skills training and fulltime employment for its residents. The residents are also provided with mentoring and counselling sessions to help them regain their confidence to start a new life, to develop their self-esteem and potential to live an independent life.

“There are also plans to start poultry projects by end of the month, a team will be organised to oversee the operation of these livelihood programmes,” Ms Akbar said.

The “Good Samaritan Inn” was officially opened  last February. It has been built with the funding of $100,000 by the Fijian Government. The facility is like a halfway home for men who are homeless and have been begging on the streets.

This centre provides temporary accommodation along with skills training and economic empowerment opportunities for its trainees. It is looked after by Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with Nazarene Church of Fiji.

Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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