Poor Fijians are becoming poorer because of the traditional demands of village and church, says Father Kevin Barr from the People’s Community Network.
He says that the number of people living in squatter settlements is likely to increase. Many now living in the settlements used to work in the sugarcane industry and have moved into the towns because there was no longer any work available in the rural areas.
While many are earning a wage, in most cases it is not enough to lift them out of poverty. 80% are earning less than F$100.00 a week and F$185.00 dollars is considered to be the poverty line.
Social obligations remain and people still have the desire to help their families. They continue to send money home to their villages and to support their churches, and this is making Fiji’s poor poorer
Barr says he has received complaints from some pastors that, as a result of being people being taught to budget by the Peoples’ Community Network, contributions to the church have decreased.
Fiji has a significant poverty problem, with estimates that 30 per cent of its population live in absolute poverty, with 15 per cent living in one of over 200 squatter settlements, the majority in the capital Suva.
News category: Pacific.