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What trinkets/gifts to bring for local children?

What trinkets/gifts to bring for local children?

Old May 17th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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What trinkets/gifts to bring for local children?

I always like to travel with small items that I can hand out to local children - both to make friends and hopefully leave a good impression of Americans. I don't hand out change or money since that can lead to horrible consequences of children being forced by adults to beg for money. I took pieces of colored chalk with me to Peru, and that was a huge hit. Does anyone have ideas what the kids might like or need in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand? Thanks for your input.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 01:40 PM
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When we visited the Philippines this year I brought candy canes and handed them out- kids loved them. I'm sure they will also love herhey bars, gummy bears etc.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 08:24 PM
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pens and pencils are your best bet.. (as far as thailand goes) thais seem too have a strange fasination with school stationary this includes adults. if you check out a shop like B2S you'll see hords of people around the pen displays...

pens and pencils for kids and adults are like collectors items..

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Old May 17th, 2005, 08:30 PM
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Please, DON'T give money and don't give candy.

Give them crayons, pens or pencils.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 11:16 PM
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Sandy: you and I seem to see eye to eye on the reasons why giving money to kids is a bad idea. I have lived in Asia for the past 8 years, and I have to say I had never even heard about, much less thought about giving random kids on the street little trinkets when I traveled. Then I went to Burma in 2003. I was with a group of about 8 people and we were bombarded by kids demanding pens and pencils. They would see our taxi or minibus pull up and aggressively cling to us for little gifts. I was shocked and completely turned off by this behavior. But I can't entirely blame the kids. They have been conditioned that foreigners give gifts, give away money and will tip.
In the next town, we ran into one American woman who brought a container of bubbbles with her. She blew bubbles for the kids to pop and it was awesome to watch the kids faces light up. (not to mention incredible photo opportunity!). More than that, it was interaction, friendliness and not a hand out (she kept the bubble container for her subsequent cities).

I think your heart is in the right place, wanting to make friendly gestures and have some interaction, so I would recommend that you try and arrange a school visit where you can meet kids in class and leave small gifts like pens and pencils, small erasers in the classroom with the treachers. Or do something like the bubbles where you will have interaction and create happiness but not dependency.

Last spring in Beijing, a flight attendant came into a shop selling American girls clothes and dolls. she had gifts for the store owner and her preschool aged daughter. (she was obvious a repeat customer.) The woman gave the gifts, as well as some things to help "display" the merchandise. She thought she was doing this wonderful thing for her friend/shop owner and she was grinning from ear to ear. the shop owner turned to her husband and said in Chinese, "How much do you think I could sell this for?"

I am sure others on this forum can recommend ways to channel your generosity so that it doesn't pave the way for kids everywhere behaving as they did in Mandalay.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 11:57 PM
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IPODs!
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Old May 18th, 2005, 09:10 AM
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No candy!!!
They already have no dental care.

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Old May 18th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Before going back to Ghana in December, I went to Office Max and bought 500 pencils and gave a few packages of them to a young Ghanaian boy who really needed pencils(there's a shortage there) and then donated the rest to his elementary school. Pencils have always worked out well. I also try to take lots of those small, pencil sharpeners,too so that kids don't have to use a knife to sharpen their pencils with. Happy Travels!
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 09:39 AM
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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't bring gifts. This may seem heartless but it is just teaching the children to expect all foreigners to give them things.

On my first trip to SE Asia more than 10 years ago I watched people giving out trinkets to happy appreciative children. As the years have passed I now see childen swearing at or spitting at (or worse) tourists who do not bring them gifts.

I also see this gift-giving as an ethno-centric experience. "Hey kids, look at the good stuff we have that you don't!

Please don't bring gifts
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 09:58 AM
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If you tourists do bring gifts for the unfortunate people I suggest that you buy it in Thailand. Nice pens and pencils are most likely made in this part of the world and from my experiences the nicest pens, not the Mont Blanc type, are made in Japan.

Now, I'll be going to the USA pretty soon and I'm well to do - what can I bring the poor ghetto children of America or the homeless people that I see lying around the streets? I sure would like to reciprocate the kindness that you offer. Would appreciate any suggestion.



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Old May 22nd, 2005, 12:16 PM
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We used to bring gifts (such as cute pencils and sharpeners, Canadian lapel pin and Canadian stickers) but we haven't brought any gifts in years..But I can still remember giving a guy selling watches in Bali a Canadian flag sticker, and he put it on his bike and everytime we saw him after that, he would have his bike parked and just standing there glaring at the sticker on his bike..So that was pretty neat to see..
When we went to see our foster child in Thailand about 3 years ago, we took Canadian pins (sorry, I am canadian!!), and pencils to give out to other villagers that we were warned would be dropping by..That too was a beautiful experience, as each little kid politely accepted the pin, as we put it on them, then thanked us..It really made you feel good..But that is a different case altogether because this was not a touristy area..I really don't think it is a good idea to give out things to kids unless it is at a school or similar..It just teaches them to expect it and to beg for it..And that really gets on my nerves..There was alot of children begging in India..Our guide warned us not to give to them!!
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 12:55 PM
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I recently returned from Africa with a group of 11, and some in our group had brought pens, pencils, trinkets, and candy for the kids. We visited an orphanage and gave the entire bag of stuff to the orphanage director (without any kids present to see). I think that was best. The orphanage director was delighted, and kids got the benefit of the items but without it being handouts from foreigners and without heartbreak that some got something and others didn't.
Karen
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 05:06 AM
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I don't agree with those that say don't give candy- when we visited the Philippines we gave candy out to adults and they went nuts over it, what more for the poor children! These kids eyes lit up when I handed out some candy canes- I'm not going to tell them no, you might get a cavity- get real here!
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Thanks to all for your input. I agree with many of you. I should clarify that it is not my intention to give things out randomly, or come across in a condescending manner. I have brought school supplies and donated them directly to local schools to avoid propagating the "give me" syndrome. My intention was to find things to pass along after making a personal connection with someone. For example, to a child to whom I had spent time with and talked to on a long train ride or to the child whose mother ran the local cafe we ate at every morning, and who would come chat with us. So many have allowed us to personally experience their culture, and I guess I just wanted to share a bit of that as a gesture of thanks in return. Again, Thanks to all for your input.
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