The Venezuelan government announced that it will organise a national registration of people living in extreme poverty, and award small allowances to parents in extreme poverty with children.
Extreme poverty in Venezuela has decreased from 25% in 1998 to 7% currently.
Sports Minister Hector Rodriguez said the government will award Bs 300 ($US 66) per month per child under 15 to parents, but with a limit of three children, and Bs 600 ($US 132) for those children with disabilities.
“The idea is to help those families living in extreme poverty, whose incomes don’t even cover basic food requirements,” Rodriguez said.
He said the government was “constructing a methodology” to carry out the registration, but that it would likely be initially through education institutions then through promoter teams visiting communities and homes to verify the information.
Part of the plan also involves joining the disability mission, Jose Gregorio Hernandez with the giving birth mission, Baby Jesus, and the mission for poor single mothers, Mothers of the Neighbourhood, into one single mission. Rodriguez said the single larger mission would be aimed at “universalising social security and constructing a fairer and more equal society”.
He also said it was important that the families who receive benefits are integrated into the Knowledge and Work Mission, to be launched at the end of the year, so that the benefits “aren’t permanent but rather a stimulus which means that a family can eventually enter into a situation of productivity and satisfy their needs through their own efforts”.
President Hugo Chavez first publically proposed uniting the three missions and the child benefits yesterday at a ceremony to hand over loans to women in the Mothers of the Neighbourhood mission. The loans, payable off over five years, without interest, will go towards 460 social-productive projects carried out by 2,374 women.
Chavez said 1,345,021 children and teenagers live in homes in a situation of extreme poverty. “Those are life determining [stages of life],” he said.
The president explained that he had a “large team” working on the project and the registration process could hopefully start in December and payments in 2012. He suggested the children whose parents receive benefits could also have to attend school, receive regular medical check-ups, and their parents could form work committees.
This year the government has conducted a few other national registrations, including 3.7 million families who recently registered for the Great Housing Mission as needing homes or home repairs. Further, over 300,000 agricultural producers have registered with the Grand Mission Agro Venezuela and have already received some kind of assistance.