Thursday, May 24, 2007
THE Ministry of Social Welfare has secured 25 jobs for street kids in a span of three days, it said yesterday.
Interim minister Adi Laufitu Malani said the ministry identified 40 street kids following her visit to homeless people living on the streets of Suva last Friday night.
She said the homeless were surprised by her visit and her initiative to get firsthand information on their problems.
Accompanied by members of the police force for a four hour walkabout, Adi Laufitu said her staff helped list the names of those she met.
They were promised help from the ministry in the days ahead.
"While the people living on the streets have their own unique story on why fate has dealt them an unfair hand, most of them claim they have been abandoned by their families," Adi Laufitu said.
"They wished their circumstances were better and they didn’t like what they had become, but they had no choice," she said.
In one case, a disabled woman said her family forced her onto the streets after an accident because they found it too difficult to look after her.
She has been convicted of petty crimes like shoplifting and pick pocketing but given another chance at life, she would take it.
"I have invited the beggars, the street kids and all those living on the streets to come and share a cup of tea with me tomorrow (today), so together we can work out strategies to improve their lives," Adi Laufitu said.
The 25 street kids will be employed by the police, the military and the navy.
She said 10 street kids would join the police force’s maintenance unit, while another 10 would be vetted by the military and another five would join the navy.