How can you best help the street child that you encounter on the street?
When confronted with a street child at your car window or on your way into a restaurant, you probably wonder what to do. Maybe sometimes you give something to get rid of the child or maybe you feel guilty about your own privilege. Is giving money on the street really helping at all?
Here’s what the Western Cape Street Children’s Forum says:
“We know you care. We know you want help, but PLEASE DO NOT GIVE money or any other direct support to children who beg. Giving money to children on the street who beg, park cars, or are part of a dance or music group encourages these children to stay out of school, leave home and become street children.
Begging promotes trafficking, exploitation and the abuse of vulnerable children, introduces children to street life, substance abuse and drug addiction. It also makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
Giving direct support, such as food or clothing, does not help as it is sold or exchanged for drugs. It also keeps children out of the services set up to help them and affirms street life as the right choice.
The Western Cape has a comprehensive set of statutory and other support services – specialised organisations to assist chronically neglected, abused, exploited and vulnerable children drifting towards street life.
Begging offers children no hope and no future."
- Do not give children begging on the streets any gifts or money – in the long run this keeps them on the streets
- Make eye contact and greet them in a friendly manner. Ask them questions. They’ll move on if they don’t want to chat. Genuine concern is something money cannot communicate.
- Rather give money to initiatives like StreetSmart SA. 100% of the funds raised by partners go to beneficiaries that deal directly with the problem.