During our last visit to Dalian, China, a child, no older than 5, came up and hugged Jean, asking for money. We knew not to give children money or sweets because the apparent kind act may create beggars of them. Furthermore, parents then will send their children to beg rather than to school. However, what ensued in that encounter still bothers me today. A man walked up, hit the child in the head, and scolded him for begging. The mother quickly came out to retrieve the child. Poor kid, he was crying from pain and shock but way too young to understand. We felt very bad.
As I will embark to cycle in Vietnam this fall, it would be great to learn better ways to help begging children. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them at a future Black and Blue Bottom.
Tony Le, ACTC President