Gifts for children?

Old Jul 25th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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Gifts for children?

I've heard mixed things about bringing small gifts for the children beggers (pens, stickers or the like). I'd love to hear the thoughts of the experienced travelers (and people who live in India) on what they think of the practice. Good? Bad? Ethical? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 11:33 AM
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Most people I have met in India say giving to street children encourages them to stay on the streets begging. If they can make a living begging, why go to school?

In addition, I have seen people get swamped by beggars when they give to one. It was kind of scary.

I give generously to local schools or charities that will help children as a whole so I can "not give" to beggars without feeling guilty.

I do bring small gifts for kids though. Often i will strike up a conversation with a family somewhere or will want to give a little extra to a taxi driver or hotel employee that has mentioned they have kids.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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I agree with lcuy. If you start giving out small gifts to children, you could be swamped before you know what happened to you. Plus adults will gather around too just to see what's going on.

You may not be able to shoo them away because they will follow and cling to you hoping for more. Trinkets to us is a treasure to them - they won't give up and leave you alone easily.

IMO, it's a kind thought, but could backfire.

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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Traveled through India with a lot of pens that I ended up giving to a school. My impression was that they were neither wanted nor needed by the street urchins.

When children beggars approached me I would take them to the nearest food stall and buy them food. It seemed to make them happy and at least I knew they were being fed.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Based on Lucy's advice we looked into various charities before we went to India, and decided to donate to SOS Children's Village in Jaipur, since we were going to be in Jaipur & could visit. We had seen one of their children's villages in Luang Prabang and thought they were doing great work with orphaned and abandoned children, as well as "at risk" children and their families.

We did not give money or other things to beggars, but I did give fruit to children, and when we left, we gave clothing to Narendar, our driver in Delhi, who said he knew families that could use them. By the way, Narendar was also recommended by Lucy, was a great driver.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 03:29 PM
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I didn't know you went with Narender! Isn't he a nice guy?
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 05:45 PM
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He was great. I think we spent two days with him in Delhi & went all over. We told him what we were interested in & he arranged everything by location so that we maximized our time & were not back-tracking. And he always managed to find good parking & find us. We loved Delhi & had a lot of fun. Great shopping.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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Good to know you all, in addition to knowing everything else, can also recommend a driver by name!!! Last driver we had in Delhi (the personal driver of relatives) didn't know a lot of Delhi because, in all fairness, it's a HUGE place.

I'm making a mental note of Narender to ask you guys in the future if I need a driver in Delhi. Thanks.
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 07:41 AM
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I am traveling to India in September and have traveled to a LOT of places with beggar children (Kenya, Egypt, Thailand) I agonize over this question as well, but several years ago I came up with a solution that seems to feel good for my soul and not promote street begging. About a week in advance of a trip, I find a children's charity online and I send a reasonable donation to that group. I have criteria, they have to be a local agency, highly rated and work directly with local people in an area I am visiting. This helps me to feel that I am directly improving the lives of these children through hardworking, often underfunded agencies who really know where the needs are.
For India, I think I am going to go with a group called Butterflies, which I read about on the BBC News, they work directly with street and beggar children in India to teach them marketable life and trade skills, which at the end of day, to my mind, will come in more handy then a pencil or bit or spare change.
http://www.butterflieschildrights.org/news.asp
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 10:12 PM
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Can I get Narendar's contact information from someone please (or the contact info of another drive)? We would like to hire someone for a day to a day and a half in Delhi to tour around. thank you!
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 10:17 PM
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Narender:

[email protected]

Tel: +91 11 9899360606
Tell him Lucy from Hawaii says hello!
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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thank you so much!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:50 AM
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Also say hello from Carole & Rob. One of the things we liked about Narendar is that he did not push shopping stops on us at all or come into the stores to get a commission. He took us where we wanted to go, and in cases where there are multiple branches of the same store (Anokhi, Fabindia) knew which branches had the biggest selection for the things we wanted. We loved Delhi & wished we'd had more time, but Narendar helped to make the most of the time we had.
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