Why you shouldn’t give to children when you travel

December 01, 2016

Why you shouldn’t give to children when you travel

You may have seen the title of this Blog and thought, “Whoever wrote this is a Cruel Person, what possible reasons are there that we shouldn't give to Children?”

Believe me, a few years ago, I was the person who took pencils and sweets to distribute to children when I travelled through South East Asia. I thought I was bringing ‘joy’ into their lives. However, as time has gone by, I have realised that this act can actually cause problems, and isn’t the best way to help. With an open mind, I encourage you to read on.

  1. Giving Lollies/Candy/Sweets causes further Dental Problems – Many marginalised children throughout South East Asia rarely brush their teeth, if at all, and giving sugar filled lollies will just add to the problem. Additionally, haven’t we learnt not to accept candy from strangers growing up? There is a reason for that, so let’s not forget our rules just because we are in an impoverished country.
  1. Giving can inadvertently open Children up to Grooming – I know you might think this is far-fetched, but it could happen. When you are giving presents to children, it makes them trust you, and perhaps think that all strangers who give them presents are nice with no bad intentions. So, when the next person comes along and starts to groom a child, they are more susceptible to trusting this person and it can end all so badly. It is far better to be extra cautious than too relaxed, and you wouldn’t think twice about protecting your children from stranger danger. The figures of child abuse are too high, let’s not add to it.
  1. Giving can cause Resentments in Communities – If there are eleven kids reaching out their hands to take a present from you, and you only have nine presents, what will happen to the other two kids? How will they feel? There is a whole ‘losing face’ culture in Asia, and I have known of villagers who have become incredibly jealous when one child/family receives something, and they don’t. It can cause conflict and we don’t want that, do we? 
  1. Giving can lead to a life of Begging and keep Kids out of School – An issue in Cambodia (a country where I have been living for five years) is that many people do not see the benefit of studying; they see the benefit of getting money right now. So, when you give to a child, that child will put 2 + 2 together and see that if they are on the streets begging instead of attending school, they will be able to support their families now……not caring about the future when they are not ‘young and cute’ anymore and have no education to back them up.

So, as you can see, there are many negatives associated with giving to kids you see on the street, whether it be money, buying baby milk or giving supplies for school. Let me tell you what you can do instead of giving to children directly.

  1. Find a Reputable NGO to Support with Supplies – There are quite a few reputable NGO’s in South East Asia who have good systems in place to use the supplies you donate, and they will get to the people who need them the most.
  1. Make Donations to Reputable NGO’s –The best NGO’s are transparent and should have annual reports online so you can see where the money is going. Your donation should not have conditions, the NGO should be able to spend it on their ongoing costs such as salaries, rent and petrol. I know these are unattractive, but organisations cannot function without their staff to teach their students, their land/buildings to provide a safe environment and petrol to conduct outreach.
  1. Support Social Enterprises – Many NGO’s and businesses have social enterprises here in Cambodia which train community members so that they can gain stable employment. When you buy/dine at these enterprises, you are supporting the development of Cambodia and also these NGO’s. It is a great way for you to be involved in the capacity building of these people whilst also getting some benefit! If you don't have much room in your suitcase, you can always bring back the memories by purchasing ethical products through us upon your return. Ammo provides traineeships to young Cambodians, and Human and Hope Association trains marginalised women in sewing. 
  1. Buy Local – When you make donations of supplies to NGO’s, I urge you to buy locally so you can support the local economy. There are always products which cannot be purchased in Cambodia, however there are many more things which CAN be purchased here. When you do so, you are keeping people employed and also saving money, so just do it!

Let’s be responsible travellers and have a positive impact on the communities we visit!

 

 




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in BLOG: SOUTH EAST ASIAN STORIES

Happy Holidays Everyone - It's a Wrap 2017!
Happy Holidays Everyone - It's a Wrap 2017!

December 22, 2017

Thank you for being a part of our Story in 2017.
Thank you for shopping ethically and making a difference in somebody's life when you shopped at Temples and Markets. 

Continue Reading

Scholarships for Cambodia
Scholarships for Cambodia

October 01, 2017

Earlier this year, my son and I had the opportunity to visit Human and Hope Association, a grassroots community centre in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I had been supporting this not-for-profit for quite some time; by being a monthly champion, donating proceeds from a VIP night and also through selling their gorgeous handicrafts through Temples and Markets.

Continue Reading

Creating a Welcoming Home (the Temples and Markets way).
Creating a Welcoming Home (the Temples and Markets way).

September 11, 2017

As Jane Austen once said, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” As with many of Jane’s musings it is eternally true. Everyone is comfortable in their own home and wishes others to feel the same. Here, five home and interiors professionals share their tips for creating a welcoming home.

Continue Reading