9 Sep 2009

Rise in number of Fiji people begging - rights advocate

3:31 pm on 9 September 2009

A women's rights advocate in Fiji says there's been a big rise since the 2006 coup in people going door to door either hawking food or begging.

Fiji's Women's Right Movement executive director Virisila Buadromo says some beggars have notes from Fiji's social welfare department saying they need money for food, school fees or clothes.

Ms Buadromo says ordinary Fijians are bearing the brunt of the military government's economic management as money diverted from social spending bolsters the army or promotes the country to tourists.

A woman spoken to by Radio New Zealand says people regularly appear at her gate asking for food, money and clothes.

Another woman, who lives in a squatter settlement, says she's more fortunate than others as her husband earns $110 a week. However, the family's house has no electricity supply so their children have to do their homework before it gets dark.

[audio"http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/mnr/2009/09/09/ordinary_fijians_forced_to_beg]Listen to item on Morning Report