157 street dwellers that have been profiled by the Ministry for Women, Children and Social Protection have been placed either in a State home, faith-based shelter or reunited with their families.
This was highlighted by the Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Sashi Kiran while contributing to the Review Report of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Annual Report for the period of 1st August 2018 to 31st July 2019.
Kiran says this year, they have profiled 144 people in the Suva Nausori corridor where 14 were found to be below the age of 14 years, 66 people were between the ages of 15 to 35 years, 47 people were between the ages of 36 to 59 years and 17 were above the age of 60 years.
She says they have profiled 31 people in the West where they found that 26 were below the age of 14 years.
The Assistant Minister says 68 new people were identified in the last few weeks and they are currently being profiled.
Kiran adds that 12 street kids are at a home undergoing rehab and will be joining the Ministry of Youth Seed of Success program later this month.
She says 7 others have been enrolled in a year-long rehabilitation program while 12 street dwellers from Lautoka have been trained under the Ministry of Youth Seed of Success program and another batch is about to start.
The Assistant Minister says 6 have joined TVET, 15 were trained by Red Cross and one strain had their pathways identified for job placements.
Kiran says 35 street dwellers have been placed in various age care homes or seek treatment from St Giles Hospital, while they are working with 23 street dwellers in Suva who keep returning to the streets.
Meanwhile, FijiFirst MP Naisa Tuinaceva says he is disappointed that we have decided to reduce but not eradicate street dwelling problems in our country.
He says one of the concerns now is the increase in the number of children who are below the age of 16 who have become street dwellers.
Tuinaceva says the figures released in the 2018 and 2019 reports state that 37 minors roam or live in towns but have been returned home.
He says a survey conducted by a prominent media agency in 2022 says close to 30 children with the youngest being a 9-year-old live and sleep under the Stinson Parade bridge every night and they do not want to return home.
He adds in June this year, it was confirmed by Police through a media report that more than 30 adults and children live on the streets of Suva.
The Opposition Member says if we talk to these children, we will understand what their issues are and how we can solve the problems that may have pushed them to the streets.
Tuinaceva says we need everyone's support and everyone needs to work together to save the next generation.
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