It’s always a dilemma when I see a beggar on the street as to whether to give them money or not. Even more so when they are children. I do feel sorry for them and want to help them out, but at the same time I know that by doing so that I am potentially making the situation worse. After all, many of them are only on the street because people give them money. And some of them can do quite well for themselves. I watched one beggar in particular for a while who was receiving money every 30 seconds or so. Every now and then he would empty his cup to give the illusion that he wasn’t making much money. Of course, he was unwashed and wearing rags with no shoes. I went away and came back a couple of hours later and he was still there, popular as ever.
I worked out that if people were giving him 10 Baht every 30 seconds (some were giving him 20B and 100B notes) then he would make 1,200 Baht in one hour. If he did a normal “work day” of eight hours, then that would be 9,600 Baht. Even if he was earning half of that then that would still be a good day’s wage. Certainly a lot more than the 200-300 Baht a day many factory workers are getting. Who are supporting those workers? If that guy was an independent beggar then he would get all of the money. If he was part of a gang then he would have to share. Sometimes I have seen them being dropped off in the morning in a van and then picked up later.
My own solution to this is to give them either food or drinks . Basically anything that cannot be sold on to someone else. It seems to be the ideal solution, but I have had beggars refuse food before. And that doesn’t really the help situation with the kids on the streets selling things or begging for money. By giving food you are just helping them in the short term. What they all need is help to get them back on their feet and kids back in school. This is what a new photo exhibition by the Bangkok arm of the French NGO Friends-International hopes can be achieved by educating the public.
What: Photo exhibit entitled “THINK before giving money to begging children”
When: 22-26 November 2013
Where: Siam Center, Atrium 1, Bangkok
Who: Produced in cooperation with Friends-International
This provocative photo exhibition is intended to raise public awareness of the dangers faced by begging children. Among the dangers are drugs, sexual abuse and lack of education. Instead of giving money to begging children, which only limits them to staying on the streets, people should support organizations that provide services to help these children go to school and maintain sustainable, safe and healthy lives away from the streets.