Caption: Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Rosy Akbar while advising Mr Jaag Ram, 75 year old resident of Tavua.Photo:SUPPLIED.
Government’s effort to raise awareness on the social welfare programs available to the public has been welcomed by the residents of Tavua.
The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation recently held consultations in the western town to raise awareness on the welfare programs that Fijians can access. While some of these programs target low-income individuals or families, other welfare programs target the elderly, persons with special needs, orphans, juveniles, single mothers and women groups.
At Kshatriya Hall in Tavua, residents met with the Hon of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar who led consultations with senior officials from her Ministry. The meeting was also an opportunity for the Ministry to hear from the residents the challenges they faced and the different recommendations that could be implemented to address these challenges.
For the Women in Action Group of Tavua, the consultations demonstrate Government’s commitment to look into the welfare of all Fijians, especially women. The Group’s president Mrs Uma Dutt said that many of the women in Tavua are willing to work and only need direction and advice to take the next step.
“It is the first time for us to meet a Minister and express our views directly to her. There are 22 women’s club in our group that aims to empower women and alleviate poverty,” Mrs Dutt said.
“Today, we had discussions with the Minister and she has assured us of the Ministry’s support to advance women’s development in Tavua. Through the Ministry’s Livelihood Programme, we will be able to access funding to start projects like poultry and bee farming. Our women are greatly motivated by her message that women should be self-reliant and financially independent.
“We would also like to acknowledge the efforts by the Bainimarama government, to reach out and assist our rural women. It has given us easy accessibility to government’s poverty alleviation programs to promote economic development in Tavua,” Mrs Dutt added.
Minister Akbar said that all the consultations carried out are essential as it will allow the Ministry to improve the way it delivers its services and programs to welfare recipients.
“Not only have we disseminated information on social welfare reforms, we have also gathered feedback on the Ministry’s programs. All the relevant information will be analysed and incorporated into policies and programs to effectively deliver our services.
Some new cases have also been identified for the social welfare programs while pending and terminated cases have also been addressed. People also come up with requests for housing and water, which are referred to relevant authorities,” Minister Akbar said.
For 75 year old Jaag Ram of Tavua (picture attached), the visit by the Minister was an opportunity for him to personally thank her for Government’s assistance.
“I live with my wife who is bedridden and my son is also paralysed. I am being assisted with $50 food voucher and $50 monthly cash from the Ministry. Since I am old and weak, I can’t walk properly so I had requested the Ministry to provide me with a new walking crutch, so I can walk easily. I am happy that the Ministry will also look into my request,” Mr Ram said.
The Ministry will continue to hold public consultations around the country to ensure that the public has access to Government’s welfare programs and assistance.