Fiji’s new rehabilitation centre for street beggars will be officially opened next week by the Honorable Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Rosy Akbar to assimilate able bodied beggars into income generating projects.

The Centre built with a funding of $100,000 by the FijiFirst Government aims to empower able-bodied beggars into employment opportunities.

“The new rehabilitation centre in Colo-i-Suva will assist the able-bodied males into skills training in areas like vocational, carpentry and agriculture. These are men who were found begging on the streets and now will have the opportunity to undergo six months of skills training at the Centre which will begin on Friday next week,” Mrs Akbar said.

The 15 men identified will be trained and assisted in opening small businesses, to help them become self-reliant.

“For the first time, the Ministry has assisted three women who were found begging in Suva. Each one of them has been allocated a stall in Suva market to sell vegetables.  The Ministry has helped them with products worth $100 and payment of stall fees,” Mrs Akbar said.

“They will be monitored on a daily basis and by next week they should be able buy more products for their stall. The Suva Market Police will also help to monitor the progress of this project. Ministry is also planning to expand similar opportunities to those in Nadi and Lautoka,” she added.

Jasma Wati Paal, 52 of Wailea settlement has acknowledged Government’s support for providing her with a new source of livelihood.

“I have been on social welfare for assistance for one year and I have also been begging for the last two years. I am happy that the Ministry has helped me with this new project through which I can start a new life. I am determined to work hard and earn income in a respectful manner,” Ms Paal said.

“I am grateful to the Minister for initiating this opportunity for unemployed women in Fiji. By having this market business, I no longer have to beg on the streets. Begging should be stopped in Fiji, as it brings shame to families and also puts our life in danger,” she added.



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