The streets of Suva were home to 155 people last year, according to profiling conducted by the Ministry of Social Protection and civil society organizations.
This morning, Minister Lynda Tabuya highlighted that, nationwide, 200 people were found living on the streets.
Tabuya also emphasizes the ongoing efforts to house these individuals. However, the challenge persists as many continue to return to the streets.
She also highlights a trend in which the numbers increase during the festive season in urban centres.
Tabuya says the focus is on rehabilitation programs to keep street kids away from drug threats.
“So the aim is to, first of all, rehabilitate these street children so they need to be removed or they need to from these drugs that they are dealing with. And then we train them in whatever vocational skills or even school that they need and then put them in places of employment or preferably they could attend boarding schools around the country, depending on their age.”
Permanent Secretary Esita Nadakuitavuki highlights progress in rehabilitation but acknowledges some individuals prefer street living.
“But ideally, we would like to send them back home where they belong, rightfully belong. But some of the kids, they prefer to be on the streets. They prefer. So what we are going to do few months is actually finding out, actually asking them to come on board with us to ensure that we keep these children in the right places”
Nadakuitavuki is also urging parents to look after their children, especially during school holidays.
The second profiling exercise is currently carried out in the city targeting those sleeping on streets.