More than 250,000 people in the Fiji Islands are estimated to be living in poverty, while many more are living on or just above the poverty line. It is said that Fijian communities, especially those in rural areas suffer the most extreme consequences of poverty. Despite the many fights against poverty in Fiji, it seems nothing has been effective enough as the poverty rates in Fiji kept increasing. What we need is a new approach, actually, one that has been in existence long before the modern world became an influence. I have often been reminded of the days when our ancestors would enjoy living on the natural resources that were available. They had farms, they went fishing, went hunting for food and fruits to make a living and they lived well. I think its time that those living in rural areas in Fiji realize the resources available to them and make use of it for a living. During my primary and secondary school years, I have often come across many students whose families earn a living through farming. There was no problem in the payment of school fees.
During the ground-breaking ceremony of a new multi-purpose hall for women in Savusavu earlier this year, Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Doctor Jiko Luveni said it was the duty of all citizens to ensure poverty issues were controlled.
She said families needed to be self-sufficient instead of depending on social welfare assistance.
This is one thing Fiji citizens must be aware of, to be self-sufficient. Who knows, causes for poverty may be due to laziness. There are many kinds of work that are available in rural areas, where villagers could make a living from. Unemployment should never be deemed as a cause for poverty. Many a times, people have often though high quality education was a solution to ending poverty as they would get a good job later in life. There needs to be a change in the mindsets of people. Instead of sitting down and lamenting on things not achievable, people in rural areas need to make use of the resources available. With a resourceful environment they live in, they do not need to count themselves unlucky just because they do not have access to things those in urban areas have access to. If they are saying that life is difficult, they need to think about how their ancestors managed to live through the years through the use of natural resources.