September 03, 2019 / By Shyla Esko Bare
While traveling around the world, Dan and I were approached by beggars in numerous countries. Even where we currently live, on Main Street U.S.A., there are plenty of people asking for spare change. So when and what should a traveler give?
The problem with giving someone a few coins or dollars is that it does not make a lasting difference. Plus, a lot of spare change is needed if a person tried to give to every beggar around the world. In India alone, there are 1.77 million homeless. When we were traveling there seeing some of the living conditions broke my heart. I wanted to help. I wanted to give each beggar something; perhaps just one rupee. But one rupee does not make a difference. It is the equivalent of about one US cent. Even to give this trivial amount to each homeless person, I would need to be a millionaire.
Through our travels, I learned that it is better to give to an actual charity and not individual beggars. When Dan and I lived in Scotland, we became involved with an organization that built and sustained schools in India. We visited two when there. It was inspiring to see how money given to that charity actually did improve lives.
At one school, they asked us to serve the children their lunch. It was a minor act of service, but it meant a lot. Actually being a part of the day for the children, showed me there are ways a traveler can help and impact the world when traveling. It is not by giving a small coin. It is by giving of ones heart. And instead of simply handing beggars a few meaningless cents, travelers can find a charity before or after a trip. By doing this, they truly can make a difference.
When traveling in Sumatra, Indonesia, Dan and I stumbled upon an amazing orphanage. They did not parade the children out to gain sympathy and collect money. However, they did have a small cafe. We bought sodas and talked to some of the older children. They told us about what they liked to do, such as go to school, chase chickens, and play together. When we returned home, the orphanage stayed in our minds. So, we told others about it and collected money for it.
The last few years, I have become involved with an organization called Dining For Women. According to their 2018 annual report, they are the world’s largest educational giving circle dedicated to ensuring gender equality and eradicating global poverty. Each month, my local chapter gathers to learn about the charity of the month. We discuss the country it is in, what life is like for the women there, and sometimes even try food from the region.
Since starting 15 years ago, this organization has educated more than 35 thousand global citizens, invested nearly $7 million in grants and partnerships, directly impacted 250,000 women and girls, and indirectly impacted 1.25 million people. Dining For Women does more with the “spare change” I give them each month, then a rupee I hand to an individual beggar ever could.
If you are wondering if you should “give or not to give when traveling,” I say no. Instead, consider finding a way to help by selecting a charity you can contribute to before or after your trip. Travelers can change the world for the better, but think before you give. Explore ways to make a lasting impact and let little acts of service that you perform while traveling change you for the better too.
#travel #travelsmart #traveltips #travel4good #wildspirit #lovetotravel
By Shyla Esko Bare, September 03, 2019 ©WildSpiritTravel.com
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