Beggers on holiday- what should you do?

You’re eating and drinking like royalty in Bali, dressed in your designer togs. Two scruffy children come up to you with an outstretched hand. One is pointing to his mouth indicating he needs to eat. It’s so little to you and would mean so much to them, right? Wrong.

The children haven’t thought this up by themselves. They are “working” for an adult gang who send them out. Why? Because children are normally more successful at getting money from tourists than adults. Any chance at going to school, learning skills to become employable are quashed. They will be beggers then perhaps graduate to thievery for their life’s work. By giving money you are teaching them that begging is the road to success.

What can you do? By coming to vacation in a third world country you have already contributed to the economy. By staying at a hotel or a villa you are helping

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a company that employs local people, teaches skills in a positive way .  By eating in local restaurants, buying local handicrafts from their makers you are showing respect for the culture and helping the economy.

Want to do more? Check out some of the charitable organizations  that have pinpointed the needs of the community. Make a contribution there. Does handing out money willy-nilly make you feel like you’ve done a good deed. It shouldn’t. Show respect for the culture of the place you are visiting and think through the long term effects of your actions. People don’t want or need pity, they need jobs and an appreciation of their skills.

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2 thoughts on “Beggers on holiday- what should you do?

  1. Well its fine to say don’t give the kids anything but not giving doesn’t help them either. So what to do? If you are in the mood to give, give. If not, don’t give. If they follow you poking or whining or pulling your sleeve stop and teach them to sit down and wait politely like they do in Thailand. So what if they have a boss or parents. Not all do. If you don’t feel good about giving money get them some biscuits or an ice cream if you like them. Make friends with them, ask them to be a model of guide. It works in Indonesia, India, Thailand…. sometimes. If you feel sorry for them, try to help them in some way. They are just people and kids who had the misfortune to end up as beggars. Being nasty or mean or self righteous to them doesn’t help. A bit of kindness won’t kill you.

    • You are correct that it doesn’t hurt to be kind, but giving money to kids only ensures that their “handlers” will keep them on the street begging.This is not kind. The kids are not begging on their own but have adult “handlers” using them as a commodity to make money. They are not your trick monkey’s either to be “taught” to beg correctly. If you really want to help kids in Bali check out this link http://balikidsguide.com/10-bali-charities-you-can-support/ Think about the long term results of your actions and then decide which is the kinder path.

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