THE Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation does not want a generation of people who live in poverty depending on assistance as they need to change from handout mentality to hands up mentality.
Speaking to interest officers based in the north Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Doctor Jiko Luveni said one of the social welfare recipients she spoke to informed her that during peak sale hours she could earn up to $200 a week.
"That is much more than what they receive when on social welfare," Dr Luveni said.
"We need to change people's mentality of depending wholly on government assistance and teach them to fend for their own through sustainable projects that they can involve themselves in.
"The proposed site for the development of Fiji's own Barefoot College in the north which will provide employment and training opportunities and other vital project is one such effort that the ministry will introduce around the country this year," she said.
Dr Luveni acknowledged the need for more efforts towards the economic empowerment of able-bodied social welfare recipients, which is primarily co-ordinated through the Welfare Graduation Program.
"I would like to thank you all for the hard work and this year will be a challenging year given that we are the lead ministry to administer important government programs such as the Social Pension Scheme for the 70 years and above, Poverty Benefit Scheme for the 13,000 household and also Care and Protection Program for the underprivileged children."
"I encourage us to strengthen networks with government and non-government organisations in delivering the government's overarching vision of reducing poverty to a negligible level."