Caption:Minister Rosy Sofia Akbar (on far left) with Nazarene Church district superintendent, Reverend Kafoa Muaror while taking a tour of the new Rehabilitation Centre for beggars located at Colo-i-Suva.Photo:SUPPLIED.
The Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Rosy Akbar visited the new Rehabilitation Centre for Beggars this week.
The Centre, which is located at Colo-i-Suva, will provide opportunities to allow beggars to venture into income-generating opportunities. The centre will also provide temporary shelter to beggars while they are trained to take on income generating work.
Minister Akbar says that the Ministry is in the process of identifying those beggars who would be assisted through empowerment programs that will be administered atthis Centre. The Ministry is targeting 15 street beggars to be trained and assisted once the Centre starts operating.
?The biggest challenge is changing the mindset of people, their willingness to leave the streets and join the Centre to build their skills to become self-sufficient and embrace an independent life. Upon a profiling exercise,
it is seen that most of these beggars are generational beggars, so getting them adjusted to a new life would be challenging but the vision is within our reach,? Minister Akbar said.
The Ministry?s ?Welfare to Workfare? Programme will also assist those able bodied street dwellers to venture into income generating projects in areas related to agriculture, livestock, handicraft, catering and tailoring.
The Ministry, in partnership with the Fiji Police Forces, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Local Government, the Municipal Councils, the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and Non-Government Organisations, is spearheading a National Taskforce on Beggars.
Nazarene Church district superintendent Reverend Kafoa Muaror says that they look forward to the opening of Fiji?s first Rehabilitation Centre for the Street Beggars, a venture that will transform the lives of those begging on streets in Suva and other parts of the country.
The church is working with the Ministry in establishing the centre, which is now expected to open its doors in early 2015.