Welfare policy brings home ownership to the poor

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Venkat Raman
Auckland, July 24, 2019

Lands & Mineral Resources Minister Ashneel Sudhakar with Prem Wati and members of the community at Narere today (July 24, 2019) (Photo from Facebook).

The long-cherished dream of a poor woman to own a home came true today (July 24, 2019), thanks to the immediate community and the Fijian Government.

Fifty-nine-year-old Prem Wati, who lives in the Nasinu suburb of Narere, received the ownership documents of a home from Lands & Mineral Resources Minister Ashneel Sudhakar in a simple ceremony.

Two years ago, Ms Wati received land on 99-year-lease but paucity of funds prevented her from building a home, which she had yearned for more than 40 years.

“Ms. Wati was supposed to move to her lot of land but due to financial difficulties, she could not build her new house. She is alone after her husband passed away many years ago. She has no resources or family to assist her,” Mr Sudhakar said.

All-round support

Her house was constructed by the Sanatan Dharam Rewa branch and Advisory Councillor Ratnesh Bhawan with assistance from the public. The wooden and corrugated iron house was built in just two days with the support of neighbours.

“I am thankful to the community for always assisting me with everything, from food and clothing, especially after my husband passed away. It was hard at times but with the support of the community I was able to construct a house which is a few metres from my old home. I am also grateful to the government for all support and assistance,” Ms Wati said, fighting back her tears at the Ceremony.

She said that as an unemployed person, she was dependent on the community.

Squatter Realisation Policy

Mr Sudhakar said that Ms Wati had received the land under the Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama’s Government’s ‘Squatter Realisation Policy.’

“The Prime Minister had announced that people who have been living in squatter settlements for a long time, and those who have no home, hope or money, will be given a lot on the same property to occupy,” he said.

The Social Welfare Ministry F$ 50 every month to Ms Wati to pay for her food and other basic necessities.

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