Should you give money to begging street children?

It is a heartbreaking dilemma faced by every tourist who ever been to Asia or Africa travelled ever faced was: is it a good idea to give money to begging children, or do you like poverty and street children this just in position?

Straatkind in a slum in Inida © BELGAIMAGE

Torn by compassion and looking into those big pleading eyes of the child, into many tourists or what rupees (or other foreign currency) out of his pockets. Who nothing does, hear, somewhere, that judgmental voice in his head that calls for charity. That little voice is now once and for all quashed by aid agencies themselves, who are tourists to beg for the highly problematic bedelindustrie not continue to stir. Give money to children has shown not only an encouragement for children to the school in exchange for the street, it is also downright destructive. Organized begging is one of the fastest growing forms of human trafficking, and is financed entirely by the ‘good-hearted’ tourists.

Maybe you have ever Slumdog Millionaire seen, which the eyes of street children are burnt out in the hope of more money for their so-called orphanage. A horrific scene that, unfortunately, is not as fictional as we would hope. According to statistics from UNICEF to disappear in India every year about 60 000 children. Even some doctors in India appear to be in this industry, and be amputated for a high sum without any problems, the arms of the defenseless children. In addition, the children are encouraged to a drug addiction, as an incentive to them not to do run away.

street children in Cambodia © BELGAIMAGE

Another major problem is the so-called orphanage tourism. This means that by the children, and insists that the tourists their orphanage visit. This visit usually involves a small performance from the children, which the visitors are asked to make a donation for the operation of the orphanage. Figures of ChildSafe , however, show that 80% of the children in this type of orphanages, living not even being his, and the industry that has grown just more being creates. ChildSafe Network campaigning for years to tourists of this type of practice aware. In Cambodia they organized two years ago a large photo exhibition to visitors to show what effect their ‘generous donations’ to the children about brought.

Is it better to have the children something physical to show in place of hard cash? Some beggars ask yourself to food or material for school. It is important to remember that children who, during the day begging on the street already, anyway, do not go to school, and they are very easily obtained material can re-sell. In addition, my you the authority of the parents, that their children are such gifts not to give, and the local economy. One of the biggest problems in Cambodia, after all, the so-called baby powder scam: mothers with a baby on the arm, that unsuspecting tourists not to ask money, but only to a nearby supermarket milk powder to buy for their baby to feed. After they may be in the same supermarkets, the powder without any problems be exchanged for a share of the too high price that the tourist is charged. Sometimes it can even directly be exchanged for crack cocaine, a very different kind of white powder.

A begging woman with a child in India © BELGAIMAGE

An important note is that we have to make, is the difference between begging children and adult. Although not all adult beggars is a fair motive, according to research by the American Christopher Blattman that great gifts usually in clothing, medicines, or even their own business to be invested. That was from experiments in Liberia and Uganda, where he 150 dollar gave to various drug addicts, criminals, and farmers ‘ wives, and afterwards verified what happens with the money happened. Arms which have their received money to have to know so often how they have to go, only to have begging children that the power of decision are not usually.

Also Al Jazeera made earlier this year, a documentary about the begging children in the Philippines, entitled, Begging for Life: From Manila to Malmo. The report ends with the statement that you can get your money in your pockets when the children go. In fact, it is in the first place is a structural problem that requires a holistic approach. If you still want to contribute your ideas, support one of the organisations, which have the local experience, resources and know-how to promote children to a good education, training and future.

Many organizations invest a long time in the support and understanding of the local communities, and ensure that your money is sustainable, effective projects. Yes, donating this way feels less ‘personal’ or ‘intimate’, but it is your karma indeed. And the children themselves makes you might be just as happy with a warm smile, or some sincere attention. If you are in a generous kerstbui and would like to contribute to a better life for street children, then visit the websites of the following organisations:




FINCA: Fighting Poverty with Microfinance and Social Enterprise




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