Welcome to the Travel Forums


Why join TravelBlog?

  • Membership is Free and Easy
  • Your travel questions answered in minutes!
  • Become part of the friendliest online travel community.
Join Now! Join TravelBlog* today and meet thousands of friendly travelers. Don't wait! Join today and make your adventures even more enjoyable.

* Blogging is not required to participate in the forums
Advertisement


Donation?

Advertisement
What can I give to street children?
9 years ago, December 28th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #97606  
Hi! My family is traveling to Quito, Ecuador next week. When we were there 4 years ago I was taken aback by the number of children begging on the streets. We were told they were mostly orphans because the country does not have the finances or chooses not to finance orphanages? Does anyone have any constructive suggestions about what we can either give to these institutions and/or these children directly? I have seen opinions such as 'don't give anything - you just encourage begging' - but in a country as poor as Ecuador I doubt this is really a lifestyle choice. I have also seen suggestions to buy or give food directly as some are forced to turn over the $$ to the institution director or their parents (who presumably drink it away)? Thoughts and suggestions, please! Reply to this

9 years ago, December 28th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #97614  
This is only my opinion. I never give to beggers but f they are selling sweets or playing an instrument ,even badly, I will always help ,as this encourages a work ethic .A young girl ,in Bogota, was working on a food cart then suddenly 1 day she had a cheap cart of her own.She only sold coffee and bunelos .I bought coffee from her ,whenever I walked past and 1 day I went to her ,with my girlfreind so no misunderstandings ,and gave her US$50.To me this wasn't much but to her it was a fortune.Over the next week she started selling all sorts of food and cigarettes.
Whenever I help someone like this I get such a good feeling I wonder if true ulturism exists. Reply to this

9 years ago, December 28th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #97637  
Hello Caroline 😊

I usually give things like fruit, bread, pencils, any school or art materials, clothes.... if I am handing them out directly to the kids on the street. Basically, I give them what I would approve of as a healthy gift for my own daughter. If giving them to an orhpanage or an organisation, I would ask them directly what they need, or just give them the money.

I would avoid giving candy. I think this is likely what tourists hand way too much of to cute kids.

Whenever I help someone like this I get such a good feeling I wonder if true ulturism exists.


Well, naturally people feel good when they do something to help or benefit others. In my opinion, the human spirit wants to be generous and kind. Makes me wonder why more dont do it more often, when it can make them feel good.

Mel Reply to this

9 years ago, January 5th 2010 No: 4 Msg: #98407  
Hi Caroline,
We've travelled through many African countries (26), and we decided not to encourage begging. What we found was that kids/people would see a white person and immediately ask for money, or cadeaux. They would look at us and assume we are rich.

The best way to help a country is to spend your tourist dollars at local businesses, eat at local restuarants, shop at local stores etc. If you give kids money this will only encourage them to continue to beg from tourists instead of going to school.

Please do not give the kids anything, I agree with ElAustraliano, if they are providing a service or selling something, then encourage entrepreneurship. Do not encourage the kids that begging is free and easy money.

Thank you,
Kathie
Reply to this

9 years ago, January 5th 2010 No: 5 Msg: #98543  

...if they are providing a service or selling something, then encourage entrepreneurship.



But, wouldnt that encourage child labour? Reply to this

9 years ago, January 6th 2010 No: 6 Msg: #98574  
Good point, that was a mistake for suggesting that. Children should not be begging on the street, nor should they be working as slaves (usually for their parents). Better to not give them anything at all. As much as you want to sympathize with them (it is very hard not to sometimes), handouts do nothing to help them. Would you give to beggers on the street in your own country?

It's common in Africa for kids to beg for pencils/pens because for some reason tourists get the impression that they need them to go to school. It's a common misconception. Kids trade these items like hard currency to get candy, etc. Same thing with empty water bottles. If you really want to help out, you're better off giving school supplies directly to a school so that they are used where they are needed.

No matter how much you think you're helping them, it does exactly the opposite. As said before, the best way to help these people is to spend your tourist dollars on local services.

Thank you,
Kathie Reply to this

9 years ago, January 7th 2010 No: 7 Msg: #98700  

Would you give to beggers on the street in your own country?


If the social welfare system was not providing for them, I would. I think a lot of those begging on the streets here in Germany(or in Ireland where I come from) have psychological problems or problems with drugs and/or alcohol and that is why the social welfare system is not enough for them.

But, if I was in a country which does not have a propper social welfare system, and I was very poor with not many options to follow, I would like somebody to give me and my kids things I need. If I was in that situation, what would I think about wealthy tourists saying that I should be working and that I should send my kids to a school I cant afford, when I dont even know where todays food is going to come from.

By not giving to the poor and desperate, in certain countries because it encourages begging, we are essentially saying that our problem about being pestered by beggers is more important than their problem of being poor and desperate.
Reply to this

9 years ago, January 7th 2010 No: 8 Msg: #98771  
There are always exceptions to the rule. In the end its up to you decide whether you want to give them money or not.

This is only my opinion, there are many differing opinions.

Thanks,
Kathie Reply to this

9 years ago, January 8th 2010 No: 9 Msg: #98852  

There are always exceptions to the rule.


How do we decide what the exceptions to the rule are, when we have never met the beggers before they beg off us, and often dont speak their language? Reply to this

9 years ago, January 12th 2010 No: 10 Msg: #99354  

8 years ago, May 3rd 2010 No: 11 Msg: #110099  

They would look at us and assume we are rich.



We mayn't be rich by the standards of our own countries, but the fact is that them moment we step of the plane we are rich. Just using that plane proves it. I try to remember this as I make the difficult decisions about who to give to, and what to give. Reply to this

7 years ago, September 19th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #143513  

6 years ago, November 11th 2012 No: 13 Msg: #163013  

In response to: Msg #97606

Hi Caroline!
I commend you for being such a conscientious traveler! There are many visitors to Ecuador who are heartbroken when seeing children begging for money. Just as you mentioned, unfortunately, many of these children are working for gangs or other organized groups who take advantage of them so if you give directly to them, you do tend to perpetuate the cycle. In recent years, a few organizations have drastically improved this situation and have taken many of these children off of the streets. The best way to help ALL of the children is to give to these organizations. Here are some suggestions:

Salesianos (Salesianos.org.ec)
Garabateatro (for blind children) Garabateatro.org
Centro del muchacho trabajador (centromuchachotrabajador.org)

Also, you can use some of your luggage space to contribute supplies through PackForAPurpose.org.

We run a tour operator here and recommend these options to all of our concerned visitors and hope that the situation for these children continues to improve. What an incredible perspective and example you and your family are spreading!

Best,
Nicole
Amazon Andes Sky Reply to this

Tot: 0.104s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 8; qc: 19; dbt: 0.0102s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.1mb