Mrs Siren Prasad with her children in their old house in Nakasi. Photo:Supplied
In the quest to assist the underprivileged families in Fiji, the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation have adopted a quick response strategy.
This was witnessed when the Minister, Hon. Rosy Akbar recently visited a family of eight in Nakasi, six of whom are children and have been living in a one bedroom house made up of old wooden structure for the last 10 years.
This case was brought to the attention of Minister Akbar through the Ministry’s coordinated committee on street beggars. The couple by the name of Chris Kumar and Siren Prasad had approached the Ministry for assistance in addressing some of the challenges they faced.
Currently, the family is assisted through Ministry’s Poverty Benefit Scheme where they receive the maximum assistance of $160 which is inclusive of the monthly food voucher.
The Ministry has liaised with Hart Home in Nausori to reserve a place for the family so that they can have a spacious place to live in because the current house is not suitable for an extended family.
Minister Akbar explained to the family that the Ministry has stepped in to help them find a new beginning in their lives.
The Minister has also gone to the extent of ensuring that the head of this family, Mr Chris Kumar is also assisted into paid employment.
Mr Kumar started his new job last week and is able to earn income on a weekly basis.
Minister Akbar has assured the family of the Ministry’s continued support to help them uplift their lives.
“The Ministry would like to make a positive difference into the lives of these children. We are here today because we genuinely care for these children and we want to help this family.
“Helping this family through employment opportunity will also improve their living status. The Ministry will continue to monitor their progress and help them get a new start in their lives. The welfare of these children is of great importance to the Ministry, the very reason we have come this far to ensure that the wellbeing and welfare of these children is not compromised under any circumstances,” Minister Akbar said.
Mr Kumar thanked Minister Akbar for being the first one to initiate these positive changes for his family.
“In all these years, we have continued to live in despair, not knowing when we will get a new life. I am grateful that we have a leader like, Minister Akbar for showing us the way forward, in all these 10 years we have lived here, she is the first one to come out and see the kind of conditions we live in and she has encouraged us to change our lives for better.
“Before I was just a casual labourer and supporting six children has been a challenge. The new employment has given a new start for me and my family. I am confident that through the new opportunities given to me, I will be able to improve the living conditions for my family. I sincerely thank the Hon. Minister and her team for reaching out and addressing the plight of my family,” Mr Kumar said.
To date the Ministry through its Coordinated Committee on Beggars has assisted 6 individuals who were found into street begging through equipping them with new skills and tools to venture into areas of vegetable selling, bean cart and catering. Mrs Siren Prasad has also been part of the catering project coordinated by the Ministry.