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Fiji Time: 3:18 PM on Thursday 28 August

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Couple plead for help

Repeka Nasiko
Thursday, August 30, 2012

AN elderly couple of Varavu in Ba is pleading for financial help, claiming their Social Welfare benefits were stopped for no reason, the Constitution Commission heard yesterday.

With no form of proper income to provide financial stability, Hassan and Rahiman Bibi have been living off other people's charity while facing constant health issues.

The couple have also lived in 12 different houses over the past 10 years.

Mr Hassan, 73, said people had been kind enough to shelter them but they've had to move on to other places.

"Our current home in Ba was given to us by someone who moved to Lautoka but did not want to sell his home," said Mr Hassan.

He said this was the sort of help many people had given them, however, their struggle to find shelter had not stopped.

"We both have health problems. I suffer from asthma and I need constant medical attention because I have regular attacks while my wife just recently received an operation on her left eye," he said.

"We don't have any social welfare assistance and it is a struggle to get money for medication. Most of the time, I can't afford to buy an inhaler so I just stick to tablets which are cheaper."

The former PWD labourer said life had been difficult for them since their Social Welfare assistance was stopped over a year ago.

They used to receive $70 a month and have not been told why payments have ceased.

He said he was grateful for the little that they did receive from family and friends.

The couple have two sons living in Lautoka but they prefer to live in Ba.

The couple were at Varavu Muslim School on Wednesday during the Constitution Commission visit to Ba.

They were one of the first to make submissions and urged the commission to help with their Social Welfare assistance.

Commission member Taufa Vakatale noted that people were coming in with their social problems.

"They are asking for assistance and I think that they partly or have not fully understood what our role is but we are taking note of their submissions and maybe we can direct their concerns to the relevant government departments," said Ms Vakatale.


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