Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Beggars Matter

"You’re not supposed to give beggars money—every one knows they’ve got loads of money stashed away somewhere, right? They’re simply exploiting us hardworking people… And you must absolutely not give anything to the little beggar children; giving them money encourages those who exploit them, and thus simply increases the problem!

However, whenever I pass one of these numerous human wrecks—the doubled over old woman, the man without limbs, the doleful young mother with a dirty baby sucking an empty feeding bottle, the half-naked, snot-nosed toddler holding out a grubby hand and looking hopefully at you with big, brown eyes—I feel vaguely uncomfortable, guilty even. What if these people really are needy…?

In fact the really needy people far outnumber those reduced to begging. Most of the really poor people still have too much self-respect to beg. Statistics bear this out:

According to the Turkish Statistics Organization (Turkiye Istatistik Kurumu: TUIK) 25.5% of the population of Turkey in 2004 lived below the poverty line. That’s 18 million people. According to TUIK about one million people go hungry. A 2005 World Bank report states that 58% of the population of Turkey lives on $4.30 a day, 20% of the population on $2.15 a day.

I don’t know how that is possible. Nor do I know what I, personally, can/should do about it…

Give to beggars…?

Source for statistics: Radikal, Dec.5 2006."
Beggars Matter � pikkert

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