24 Nov 2011

More Tongan families struggling to survive

6:48 am on 24 November 2011

The education officer with Tonga Civil Society Forum agrees that poverty in Tonga is worsening.

The World Bank has just announced a grant to bolster the Tongan government and non-government organisations, saying one in five people in the country are struggling to pay for basics.

Part of the Bank's grant of nine million US dollars will provide temporary employment to benefit up to a third of the population.

It says there's been a substantial increase in poverty in the past ten years and the Forum's Andrew Toe'apa, says from his observations, the ranks of the poor are growing.

He says the expenses people face have escalated.

"For some of the people, they are working, but they are only working for food and bills. no more savings, no more savings for any future occasions or saving for the future of their children. It is hard for a family to save their money. But it's only when they get to payday they pay the bills, shopping for food and that's all."

Andrew Toe'apa of the Tonga Civil Society Forum.