Woman, Family Hopeful Of Better Days

Sickly Devi shares partially damaged home with daughter and grandchildren for past 30 years, without an income
08 Jan 2021 11:25
Woman, Family Hopeful Of Better Days
Urmila Devi 65, (middle) with her daughter Florence Radhika Devi (left), granddaughters Justine Janvi Raj, 13, and Amyra Devi, 1, at Sasawira, Nausori on the January, 5, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

A family living in a partially damaged house in Sasawira Road, Nausori, is hopeful that their problems and struggles will one day all go away.

For more than 30 years, Urmila Devi, 64, and her family have been living in an old one-bedroom house with holes on the floor, no source of electricity, a mounting municipal council debt and no source of income at all.

She lives with her daughter Florence Radhika Devi, 37 and two grandchildren – Janvi Raj, 13, and Amyra Devi, 1.

Their problems took a major blow when Tropical Cyclone Harold early last year, blew away half of the roof.

Ms Urmila could not contain her emotions as she shared her struggles yesterday.

“I am weak and I find difficulties with sitting on the floor, but I cannot help it because I have to lie on the floor when I sleep as I do not have any bed,” she said.

“There are holes on my floor and you can see right through the floor in parts of my house. Sometimes a mongoose can come right into the house from the bottom of the floor.

“We have to be very careful with our movements inside the house. We only have a kerosene lamp. That is our source of lighting at night.”

Daughter Florence said she resigned from her part time employment to care for her sickly mother and one-year-old daughter Amyra.

“I was working but I had to look after my one-year-old daughter and my sick mom, so I cannot be at work. Now, the little money my partner can give me is what keeps us going,” Ms Florence said.

“I have three sisters, but they are all married and struggling as well with their families. One suffered a stroke.

“We have $7000 owing to the Nausori Town Council in rate arrears and we do not know how to pay this off.

“Mom has high blood pressure and most of the time she is vomiting, she is sickly.”

Her daughter Janvi will have to wait until she can get funds to ensure that her school stationeries for the new school year are bought.

“One of my daughters is in Year Nine and I just have no idea how I will be able to send her to school.”

She claimed that she had been taking her mother to apply for Social Welfare assistance, but had always been told that she had not reached the age group to be assisted yet.

Director for Social Welfare Rupeni Fatiaki clarified that the social pension scheme targeted elderly persons at the age of 65 years who have no source of income. He said applicants seeking to apply for the scheme must be 65 years old.

Ms Devi will be eligible for social welfare assistance when she turns 65 this year.

Edited by Naisa Koroi


  • If you wish to help this family, you can contact Florence Devi on 9077546

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