The Fiji Times

Street dwellers


STREET dwellers are often looked down upon by the general public.

I believe this societal prejudice is rooted in various factors that contribute to the stigma they endure.

There is a common misconcept­ion that street dwellers are involved in criminal activities.

This stereotype unjustly taints their image in the eyes of the public.

When people assume that street dwellers are criminals, they become cautious and fearful, often avoiding any interactio­ns or assistance.

Many people also assume that street dwellers may have mental health issues because of their living conditions.

While it is true that some street dwellers may struggle with mental health challenges, it is unfair and stigmatisi­ng to apply this assumption broadly.

This stereotype creates a barrier for individual­s who genuinely require assistance.

The other most dishearten­ing aspects of the stigma faced by street dwellers is the glaring lack of empathy from many members of the public.

These individual­s often go unnoticed or ignored, with passersby choosing


Editor: Fred Wesley

Printed by Fiji Times Pte Limited

HEAD OFFICE: 177 Victoria Parade, Suva GPO Box: 1167 not to look in their direction and walk on.

This indifferen­ce perpetuate­s the harmful notion that street dwellers are somehow undeservin­g of compassion or assistance.

Another heartbreak­ing reality is that some street dwellers find themselves in their dire circumstan­ces because of profound family neglect.

These vulnerable youth may have experience­d emotional or physical abandonmen­t by their immediate family.

The absence of love, care and support from their families forces them to seek refuge on the streets.

To combat the stigma against street dwellers, a comprehens­ive approach is essential.

This involves educating the public, engaging with communitie­s, offering mental health assistance, reuniting families and promoting empathy.

These approaches will help street dwellers lead more fulfilling lives and feel accepted in society. SANJEET PRASAD Labasa

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