From beggar to business
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.
Sarab Sati (right), tending to a customer.