DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 09/05/15 4:00PM

1 RELIEF TEAM COMMENDED BY GOVERNMENT FOR VANUATU WORKS – Government has commended the work carried out by Fijian personnel that returned from Vanuatu after carrying out relief works there following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in March this year.

2 More than 300 calls received through Fiji?s Child Helpline?- Three weeks since its launch, Fiji?s first ever National Child Helpline has received over 300 calls through the toll free line?1325.

3 MINISTER AKBAR TO CELEBRATE MOTHER?S DAY WITH RESIDENTS OF CARE HOMES?- The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar has put together a program to visit residential care homes in the central divisions to celebrate Mother?s Day?tomorrow.

 

1 RELIEF TEAM COMMENDED BY GOVERNMENT FOR VANUATU WORKS

Government has commended the work carried out by Fijian personnel that returned from Vanuatu after carrying out relief works there following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in March this year.

This week the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu received the personnel that included the Republic of Fiji Military Forces engineers corps and a medical team including nurses and doctors. The Divisional Commissioner Western Manasa Tagicakibau led the Fijian team to Vanuatu and was also received by the Minister.

In welcoming them back to Fiji, Minister Seruiratu conveyed Fiji?s gratitude for their dedication and work in Vanuatu.

“I, on behalf of the Prime Minister and Government, thank you for all your hard work in Vanuatu. We also want to sincerely thank your families who have supported this noble work,” he said.

“We have received word from the Government of Vanuatu on your work and we are happy that you completed your mission.”

Mr Tagicakibau said he was proud to lead a team of professionals that provided relief work and support in Vanuatu.

“We are honoured to have been called on by the Government to assist our neighbours. Vanuatu is now in a better state than when we had initially arrived,” Tagicakibau said.

“Schools are now open and the local community were very happy to see Fiji, as a fellow Melanesian country, assisting in relief efforts there.”

Vanuatu has also made a request for Fiji?s assistance towards their National Disaster Management efforts.

“We were requested to brief the Prime Minister and was the only team to have had that honour. Our experiences in floods and cyclones in the past was very helpful and the Hon Prime Minister requested if we could further continue capacity building for their NDMO staff,? Tagicakibau said.

He added that he would submit his report of the mission and the request from the Vanuatu Government.

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2 More than 300 calls received through Fiji?s Child Helpline

Three weeks since its launch, Fiji?s first ever National Child Helpline has received over 300 calls through the toll free line?1325.

The National Child Helpline was established by Government for those seeking counselling and guidance from trained counsellors.

The Fijian Government through the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation pursued this venture in partnership with Medical Services Pacific (MSP) and three major telecommunications companies – Digicel, Vodafone and Telecom Fiji Limited who provided ?the dedicated help line.

The Medical Service Pacific executive director, Ms Jennifer Poole said there is a great response received from the public at large.

?More than 300 calls have been received through the Child Helpline toll free line 1325. Callers mostly requested for information and advice on child related cases. A total of 50 callers were children and their cases has well been recorded and referred to the Department of Social Welfare in Labasa, Taveuni, Vunidawa, Nausori, Valelevu and Suva.

?We are expecting an increase in these calls as the awareness campaign gains momentum. The MSP and Ministry is working together with Ministry of Education to increase the Child Helpline Fiji awareness programs in schools. This month, the Cathedral Secondary School and Stella Marist Primary School in Suva will be part of this awareness programs. The outreach team has also developed a package on Child Helpline Fiji that is used widely during community awareness programs throughout Fiji,? Ms Poole explained.

Minister for Children, Mrs Akbar is once again encouraging the parents and children to make use of this free line, 1325 to acquire information and report any child related cases.

?The National Child Helpline has given our children and parents an avenue to seek assistance in cases of violence, abuse, get counseling, information on child related issues from wherever they are. ?The service is available in major languages of English, Fijian, Hindi and Rotuman.

?The helpline maintains confidentiality of information on callers and there are professional counsellors available for assistance. We hope that more and more children and young people will make use of the toll free line, ?1325? to seek advice, report child welfare cases and share their thoughts and concerns,? Minister Akbar said.

The helpline operates 12 hours a day from?6am to 6pm.

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3 MINISTER AKBAR TO CELEBRATE MOTHER?S DAY WITH RESIDENTS OF CARE HOMES

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar has put together a program to visit residential care homes in the central divisions to celebrate Mother?s Day?tomorrow.

The Minister will visit and celebrate mother?s day with the residents of the Samabula Old People?s Home, Home of Compassion, Father Law Home and Dilkusha Girls Home in Nausori.

The Ministry has organised these programs in partnership with Telecom Fiji and Colgate Palmolive Fiji Limited.

The program will start?tomorrow?morning at?9am?where by Minister Akbar will address the residents of Samabula Old People?s Home and treat them with free meals and gifts. The Minister?s visit is also to look at ways to improve the services and administration of these homes by the Department of Social Welfare.

Minister Akbar says it?s significant that the residents of these homes are recognized during important celebrations like Mother?s Day.

?During my ministerial tours, I have come to realize how some families have neglected those who are mentally and physically disabled. Majority of patients in St Giles Hospital and including those in these residential care homes, do not get the family support they need for their wellbeing.

Sadly, some of these residents in care homes have lost all contacts with their families and they cry for their loved ones. I urge families that have relatives in the residential care homes to please visit them and give them the care and compassion that these elderly?s deserve. This simple approach can restore life back into them,? Minister Akbar reiterated.

The Ministry currently supports?12,709?senior citizens through the?Social Pension Scheme and likewise?42,475?individuals continue to be assisted by the Bus fare concession, including the senior citizens and persons living with disabilities.

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