Friday, August 03, 2007

Government and Welfare in Fiji

from w
Further on my thoughts about care and welfare, I found a recent Fiji Times article about what government can do for needy people. However it is the South Pacific norm (or was) for families to care for their elderly men and women and not send them to institutions nor expect a cheque every month. Times are changing though and it is good that very poor senior citizens can be helped financially - though few would access this offer - especially those in distant rural or island locations. Many would have pride too, that they are not 'poor' but their families have the responsibility for their daily needs.

The photo of the beggar in Suva was taken by Peter Williams.

From Fiji Times

Welfare to help 25,286 families through scheme
Saturday, July 21, 2007

A total of 25,286 families will be assisted through the Family Assistance scheme this year, says media liaison officer, Ministry of Social Welfare, Frederick Elbourne. Mr Elbourne said the above was the number of approved applications for family assistance allowances. The Family Assistance Scheme provides assistance to the poor and disadvantage families. It is a supplement cash allowance paid on a monthly basis.

"We have been receiving numerous applications for assistance but not all who applied for family assistance allowance qualify or meet the criteria to receive it," said Mr Elbourne. He said the Welfare Ministry staff had also carried out a review and visited homes of the family assistance allowance recipients."We are also in the process of conducting an assessment of all the recipients in a form of a rapid assessment survey under our Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign," he said. "This is all part of the exercise in our change of payment mode for the family assistance allowance," he said.

Upon carrying out an audit in 2006, the department did not come across any case whereby assistance was given to a family that had not applied for Family Assistance Scheme, he said. "All families that are assisted are listed. We can not give family assistance allowance to someone who is not listed," said Mr Elbourne.

The Ministry of Social Welfare has been allocated $18 million for family assistance funds. Minister for Social Welfare, Adi Laufitu Malani said $9million would be used in the first three months of the year and the other $9million would be used in the later six months. She said they were re-looking at the applications so those who needed help more than the others are assisted first.

The elderly and single mothers are paid $60 to $100 a month. The scheme is meant for those who do not have the means of support and the ability to cope.


Julie Oakley said...

Times have changed. When we lived in Fiji beggars were only ever Indian. I cannot recall seeing an ethnic Fijian begging ever.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Many years ago it was rare to see beggars sitting on the pavements in Suva city area. Perhaps the beggars today are people with mental problems and are isolated from family help.
There is a story though that someone drops off several people each morning, picks them up in the late afternoon and takes a cut from the proceeds! I don't know if it is true or not.