You are likely to find a fair amount of beggars in Cape Town and most of South Africa. They are usually homeless people who turn to begging for survival. Their sad appearance makes them hard to ignore. And circumstances that drive people to the streets can be heartbreaking. But before you give money to a beggar or street urchin, consider the following.
Our mayor – Patricia De Lille – is committed to keeping her election promise and is doing her utmost to improve the lot of displaced people in Cape Town. That is aside from the many NGOs and religious organisations who work tirelessly to uplift homeless people.
Here are just a few NGOs –
- The Haven
- The Homestead
- Girls Town and Boys Town
- The Salvation Army
- The Carpenters Shop
- The Big Issue
- The Caring Network
Even the CCID which is an organisation that coordinates core functions, are involved in initiatives to help displaced people such as Give Responsibly. In essence, if someone doesn’t want to be on the streets, there are many avenues they can follow to secure help.
Why then would people remain on the streets and continue to beg? Because many homeless people have substance abuse problems and a place of safety requires them to be sober. But the biggest reason, is because people keep giving them money. Street people are unlikely to address their problems and find alternate income if they obtain money easily from begging. Each time you reach out and give a beggar money, you are actually helping them to remain trapped in their miserable life. Not only that, it encourages even more people to beg on the streets.
But . . I will admit, I always give money to Congolese car guards. Now why after all I have said, would I do that? They have no social status in South Africa and they are refugees with very little other opportunity to make money. Many of these guys are highly educated, polite and provide a service. I wish the opportunities offered to South Africans was extended to these refugees.
Image sourced from Google images