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NGO aids victims

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, February 02, 2013

INCOME-generating projects are the focus of the rehabilitation of livelihoods for those affected by Tropical Cyclone Evan in the west.

And assisting the disadvantaged in their quest for future sustainability is Empower Pacific, a non-governmental organisation that couples counselling work with encouraging people to start their businesses.

Empower Pacific national income generation program manager Kim Tilbury said more than 600 people were assisted since the start of the program in 2010.

She said the core of the program was developed as a sustainable response to the specific needs of clients.

"Funding for this program comes from AusAID, NZAID and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to support sustainable development within vulnerable communities," said Ms Tilbury.

She said they had identified and assisted those affected by the floods and TC Evan with a recent $50,000 donation from NZAID,

"We were still helping those affected by the two floods early last year when TC Evan struck, so we just tied it in with what we had already been doing," she said.

One of the recipients of the assistance package, Mariana Lewatu of Vitogo in Lautoka, said the program was a great help to her and her family.

"It's a good program because it has given me a chance to support my mother," said Ms Lewatu.

She started her business a week before TC Evan struck but was optimistic it would become sustainable over time.

Empower Pacific's field officer Nileshni Sekar said 60 to 70 people had been identified for assistance.

"We have clients in Rakiraki, Tavua, Lautoka, Nadi and Sigatoka. We give them loans of up to $500 to help them start their business," said Ms Sekar.

She said these included those who had lost homes, belongings and farmlands.

"We hope to help a total of 200 people through this program and so far there have been a lot of good responses."





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