Durban woman urges public not to give begging kids money at intersections

Durban woman urges public not to give begging kids money at intersections

In Durban, it's common to see children begging for money at traffic intersections, and while many of us take pity on them, one woman has spoken up against why the public should not support these kids on the street.

Katie Friedman poster
Supplied / Katie Friedman / Facebook

Listen to this KZN woman sharing her views on begging children at intersections:

There is no avoiding the eyes of that small child who looks up at you through your car window at the traffic intersection - especially the little infant sitting in the blazing heat begging for money. Surely that’s enough to want to give the mother a few coins or some food?

It is an anxiety-ridden dilemma especially in this day and age where it’s common to see children begging at a traffic light. As much as they tug on your heartstrings, it seems that more often than not it’s the parents using the small kids to gain sympathy. Whose heart wouldn’t be softened seeing a small child asking for food or money at a traffic light, right? 

READ - Beggars vs begging school kids: Who should you support?

Now you may be wanting to know what sparked this conversation. Well, while trolling through social media this weekend, I came across a post by a woman named Katie Friedman in a Facebook group. Friedman, who's been living in Durban for three years now, shared her thoughts on why she doesn't give money to begging children.

"WAKE UP DURBAN! These kids are forced to beg at the robots because we GIVE MONEY. Guess what!? If no-one gave money, no-one would be there. Please educate others NOT to give at the lights. I choose to donate monthly to @DenisHurleyCentre but there are so many amazing NGOs doing good work here in Durban - but don’t fool yourself that you are helping by giving on the street," her post read. 

Check the post and the accompanying poster below:

Katie Friedman comment
Screenshot: Katie Friedman's post on a Facebook group / Facebook
Katie Friedman poster slavery
Poster: Katie Friedman / Facebook

For me, I made the conscious decision to no longer give money or food to begging children simply because people asking for money at the traffic lights see themselves as victims that everyone else needs to take care of. If I give money or food to them, I’m supporting the self-degradation in someone who begs by giving them free money, which in turn gives them no desire or will to work.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I don't absolutely dread getting to a traffic light and seeing children there. It’s then that I suddenly find myself being caught somewhere in the middle again, questioning myself and feeling like the worst person in the world for not wanting to give.

ALSO READ: Durban North community asked to stop giving to beggars

Either way, if I was to give, I’d rather hand over food than money. Begging is a degrading way for any human to get money. It must erode someone’s self-worth and completely disempower them, and it’s the child I ultimately feel sorry for. They have no choice in the matter.

When you are at a traffic light, and you see a young child begging for money, what do you do? Do you constitute giving money to these kids as enabling child slavery? Share your thoughts with me. 

Show's Stories