beggars1231.jpgI have not been to India and any other countries where you can see beggars all over the place to beg money from you. But, a few countries that I have been to, do at least have this kind of situations eventhough not so rampant. If you ask me should we give them some money, my honest opinion will be a big NO NO. Immediately after you give the money to the first beggar, there will be others targeting you as well. I have read tips from Rolf Potts while reading his article “begging the question” and I find those tips are quite beneficial to me and should be shared with others. The tips :

1) Spend some time in the community before you give to beggars

A little cultural familiarity will give you a better sense for which beggars are and are not truly needy and will allow you to see how locals react to beggars: when they give money, and how much they choose to give. Most of the world’s spiritual traditions have time-honored practices for helping the needy, and following these local religious protocols is often the most culturally appropriate way to give money. In less religious societies, such as those in Western Europe, state funds are often available for the homeless and indigent, theoretically eliminating the need for hunger-based beggary.

Donations to local charities and NGOs are another solution for helping the needy in a given community, though you should research aid organizations carefully, since many such agencies are notorious for siphoning money into bloated administrative overhead.

2) Practice skepticism

Practice proper discernment when choosing to give. This in mind, try and donate to those who truly need it (physical deformities are usually a reliable indicator of need), and try to avoid putting money into the hands of hustlers. Any able-bodied beggar who is too aggressive, charming, accusatory, persistent, melodramatic, or (in non-Anglophone countries) good at English is probably working a scam, trying to raise drug money, or avoiding legitimate work.

Children who beg are always a tough call, since it’s natural to feel sympathy for them. Try to never give to child beggars, however, because child beggary is so often tied to organized crime and familial exploitation. Moreover, even if a given kid is begging independently of opportunistic adults, it is best not to reinforce this behavior at such a young age.

3) Don’t be afraid to say no

It’s better to give out of conviction than guilt, so don’t give if you truly don’t want to. Some travelers even have a policy of never giving to beggars at all (reasoning that their donation stands to create as many problems as it solves), and this is as legitimate a way as any to deal with the situation. Beggars realize that what they’re doing is a numbers game, and that not everyone who walks past is going to give them money.

4) You’re not saving the day

Giving money to a person on the street may make that person’s day a little better, but rarely will it do much to actually change his or her life. Individual travelers are rarely more than a fleeting presence in the lives of beggars, so keep things in perspective, remain humble, and don’t condemn those travelers who choose not to give.

5) Be courteous

It is perfectly normal protocol to ignore beggars in a given situation (they’re used to it), but don’t lecture them on how they should live their life or spend their money. In other words, remember the essential humanity of the needy as you travel, and don’t presume the presence of beggars is somehow an affront to your vacation. After all, as a traveler you are a mere guest in a faraway place, and they have just as much right as you to hang out at a given landmark, a public square, or tourist attraction.



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