NATION

Amputee’s Four-Year Wait For Welfare Benefit Over

Four years ago Litia Merina lost both her legs through amputation. Since then Ms Merina, 50, has been unsuccessfully seeking social welfare assistance. Her quest ended last week when she
25 Mar 2017 10:00
Amputee’s Four-Year Wait For Welfare Benefit Over
Litia Merina during the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs roadshow at Tubou Village in Lakeba, Lau last week. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

Four years ago Litia Merina lost both her legs through amputation.

Since then Ms Merina, 50, has been unsuccessfully seeking social welfare assistance.

Her quest ended last week when she attended the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs-led two-day Government roadshow at Tubou Village, Lakeba Island in Lau.

“I am just grateful for this roadshow and making available these services,” she said.

Two years ago she lodged an incomplete application without her birth certificate.

She prayed that somehow things would get fixed. Her prayers were answered when staff of relevant ministries arrived at Tubou and erected their tents before serving the people.

For her the most difficult part over these years was for someone from the ministry to bear physical witness of her state of health rather than all she stated in her application.

“Now my birth certificate is done from one end of the table and I have someone right here with me to accompany me as a witness to everything stated in my application,” Ms Merina said.

The initiative, says Permanent Secretary for i-Taukei Affairs Naipote Katonitabua, is to connect with the grassroot people and create awareness of the Government services available.

The biggest issue in place today he says is the demarcation of lands among different sub-clans who for years had never been surveyed by Government.

However, he says Lau Island will be next after all documentation of lands are completed within the Serua Province.

A senior i-Taukei Affairs official,  Saimoni Waibuta, told the people attending the village by-laws consultation that one of the problems faced by the iTaukei registry (Vola Ni Kawa Bula – VKB), was the apathy shown by people to seek proper records and documentation of their geneology, traditions and cultural practices.

“These include the initiative to come over to the office and delete the names of their dead because it interferes with every plan in place by the government for landowners,” Mr Waibuta said.

“When names of deceased are still registered with the living, they will also contribute to wrong figures within the population census, divided lease assets and interfere with the numbers of signatures needed for any agreement within the sub-clan and the government for any development plans,” he said.

Feedback:  jone.luvenitoga@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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