From beg­gar to busi­ness

Fiji Sun - - Nation - Source: Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­

Anew op­por­tu­nity was cre­ated for Sarab Sati, 53, to im­prove her life through the Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion’s Op­er­a­tion Loloma. Ms Sati of Shalir­mar Street, Nabua, who used to beg on the streets of Suva, now op­er­ates a small busi­ness to sus­tain her liveli­hood. The Min­istry had found Ms Sati beg­ging on the streets of Suva in Fe­bru­ary this year. Af­ter coun­selling and men­tor­ing, the min­istry as­sisted her by pro­vid­ing a bean cart where she is now able to sell In­dian sweets and snacks. It’s been over three weeks now and Ms Sati has been op­er­at­ing this busi­ness from the De­part­ment of So­cial Wel­fare head­quar­ters in Suva. This new start has given Ms Sati the con­fi­dence to work hard and support her fam­ily. “I used to work as a house girl at Toorak un­til late last year when my em­ployer went abroad and that’s when I be­came un­em­ployed. My hus­band is 70 years old and he can’t work and my son is a ca­sual labourer so we were fac­ing financial dif­fi­cul­ties. “That is when I turned to street beg­ging; I used to sit on the streets in Toorak (Suva) at least once a week. I was able to col­lect around $10 to $15 per day. I can­not for­get those days when I had to sit in the hot sun, beg­ging for money. But one day, the Min­istry of Women

of­fi­cials found me and it is them who have helped me to change for the bet­ter,” Ms Sati said. She said beg­ging was not the so­lu­tion; it only made her more de­pen­dent and vul­ner­a­ble.

“Be­sides as­sis­tance is avail­able; peo­ple just need to be aware that we are so for­tu­nate to have a min­istry that goes out of its way to as­sist the needy,” she said. “I am thank­ful to the Min­istry of Women for hav­ing faith in me and giv­ing me this op­por­tu­nity. Through this bean cart, I am able to earn more than $120 a week.” The min­istry’s Op­er­a­tion Loloma team has to date as­sisted five fam­i­lies through in­comegen­er­at­ing projects that em­power them to over­come poverty.

Photo: Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion

Sarab Sati (right), tend­ing to a cus­tomer.

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