Some street beggars and street dwellers continue to return to towns and cities despite getting assistance - Govt

Some street beggars and street dwellers continue to return to towns and cities despite getting assistance - Govt

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 07/07/2022

Despite assisting children, street beggars and street dwellers through the Social Protection Program, some of them continue to return to towns and cities.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation says their ‘Operation Loloma Taskforce’ will continue the monitoring.

The Ministry conducts regular assessments of beggars, street dwellers and children at risk.

It says the joint task force namely ‘Operation Loloma’ includes the Police and NGO partners who work together to support the needy.

The task force regularly visits the streets to seek, assess and help the various vulnerable categories including street dwellers, beggars and children at risk or without parental supervision.

A recent National Sweep Operations was conducted in the Central, Northern and Western division.

This exercise profiled a total of 81 adults and 26 children across the country.

The Ministry says out of the 15 adult beggars and street dwellers in the Central Division, 10 of them have been assisted through the Poverty Benefit Scheme and discussions are in progress with a few to establish their income generating project to become sustainable to and keep them off the streets.

7 of the children begging and selling food in the Central Division have been reconciled with their parents and guardians and also assisted through the Care and Protection Allowance.

It has been established that most children were engaged with activities outside the home, with the rationale of complementing the daily needs of families, and returning home at night while others were saving for their own personal purchases.

The ‘Operation Loloma Taskforce’ will continue the profiling and monitoring of these children, beggars, street dwellers which is an on-going operation of the Ministry.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation says through the Department of Social Welfare they continue to receive new applications for assistance through the 20 offices across the 4 national divisions.

The Ministry says it has a total of 89,000 welfare recipients under the four major social protection programs that entails monthly allowance payments.

They say some families are still recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic and they encourage the unemployed and needy families, parents and guardians to apply for assistance under the appropriate Social Protection Programmes.

The government says the Social Protection Programmes have assisted approximately 22,583 families under the Poverty Benefit Scheme which has a budget of $31 million, 9,030 individuals with children have been assisted under the Care and Protection Allowance which has a budget of $11 million, 46,996 Older Persons aged 65 years and over are being assisted through the Social Pension Scheme with a budget of $53 million and 10,069 Persons with disabilities are assisted through the Disability Allowance with a budget of $10 million.

Government says it also provides assistance through the Bus Fare Scheme, Rural Pregnant Mothers Program, Fire Grant, Consolidated Grants to Organizations. There is also a Food Voucher component within three of the schemes, which allows 31,613 recipients to purchase $50 worth of food items from Contracted Vendors. These are processed on a monthly basis with the allowance component.

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