The Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar has called on Fijians to assist in providing support for the welfare of women, children and senior citizens.
At public consultations held in Sigatoka and Nadi this week, the Minister said that while the State would act on its obligation to provide welfare assistance, Fijians also need to take responsibility for family members, especially the elderly.
“The Ministry will help families to walk out of poverty, however once their economic situation improves, we will exit them from the welfare scheme. So new families can be assisted. A maximum of 6 weeks has been allocated to process all the welfare applications,” Minister Akbar said. She also raised concerns on the increasing number of senior citizens and children being pushed onto streets for begging.
Designed to strengthen awareness on Government’s welfare a program, the consultations also provide an opportunity for the Minister to speak on new laws relevant to her portfolio.
“Through such consultations, we aim to inform people about the No Drop Policy in relation to domestic violence -there is no room for reconciliation, charges will be laid and the Ministry will work with police to intensify efforts in reducing the rate of domestic violence in Fiji,” Mrs Akbar explained.
Fiji Disabled People’s Federation representative Ms Neelam Jyotika Naidu, said she found the consultation both interactive and empowering.
“I am visually impaired and people like me face a lot of challenges out there. It’s encouraging to find that government recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities and such consultations are important to address our concerns. This is the first time for us to witness government Minister’s coming out like this to talk to people; it builds our confidence to work together with the government to create an inclusive society for all,” Ms Naidu said.
Similarly, Mr Jone Nabou, a social worker from Nakavu village in Nadi acknowledged the Bainimarama government for assisting the senior citizens.
“It’s encouraging to find that the government is taking its services right down to the people at grassroots level. We really appreciate initiatives like the Food Voucher Program, the Social Pension Scheme and Bus Fare concession that is positively impacting the lives of the senior citizens.
“I am 74 years old and I can say that in all these years, THE Bainimarama government is the first to have created equal opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged people in Fiji. Today’s public consultation demonstrates the government’s commitment to enhance its service deliverables,” Mr Nabou said.