The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has prepared an assessment report on Akesa Florian and her 3 children who were described as “Homeless” in the front page of the Fiji Times newspaper published on Sunday May 3, 2015.
In the article, the newspaper reported that the mother of the three children was living on the streets without any family support.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar visited Akesa and her 3 children in Lautoka yesterday and spoke with the mother and her family to assess their situation.
“We have visited Akesa’s family in Vunato, Lautoka and that is where Akesa and her 3 children have been living since February 2015. Upon discussions with the family, it was established that there are close family members who are willing to look after the children and currently the mother and the children are with their grandmother in Lautoka,” the Minister said.
“The children’s father, who is a 69-year old security guard is a recipient of the Social Pension Scheme and provides financial backing to the family. The children are now at their grandmother’s home and will be further assisted under the Ministry’s Poverty Benefit Scheme. The Ministry will provide maximum financial support of $120 monthly allowances and a $50 food voucher to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of the children,” Minister Akbar said.
The Minister said that welfare assistance will always be provided to eligible Fijians especially young women and mothers.
“It is clearly evident that there has always been family support for Akesa and her 3 children maternal family. Thus the title “Homeless” is exaggerated and sensationalized story to make front page. The Ministry will make every effort to assist families that face challenges, however, the street is no place for any mother or child.”
“The Ministry has taken a compassionate approach to assist people who had been on the streets by providing them with livelihood programs and welfare assistance.”
“The Ministry works closely with the Fiji Police and communities to tackle issues concerning street beggars. Getting to the reality of the story is challenging; we have to ensure that the welfare of the family and of that of the children is prioritised”.
“In the story by Fiji Times, Akesa’s relatives were portrayed as unsupportive which proved otherwise upon my discussions with Akesa and the Ministry’s assessment on this case,” Minister Akbar emphasised.