4. April 2018 – 12:51
I myself came to India through a year of volunteering with a non-profit organisation in Delhi.
Freshly graduated from high school as a 19-year-old, this year was an incisive experience and a very instructive but also enriching time for me.
India is a beautiful country with wonderful people. But despite the emerging country’s increasing progress, poverty in India is on every street corner.
Begging women with their babies, cripples crawling through trains in rags, children working in restaurants, sparsely cobbled together tent shelters that serve as dwellings. This, too, is India.
And it is precisely where there is money that the poorest of the poor are drawn. Tourists mean money and so it is inevitable that travelers will encounter not only beautiful impressions, but also suffering and poverty during their trip to India.
But what do you do then? You want to help. After all, you are here as a guest in the country and you have a lot more money at your disposal than the average Indian.
But what is the best help?
I often get asked these questions by my guests: How can i help beggars? Should I bring pens and sweets for the children? Can I volunteer somewhere? Are there any social institutions to which donations can be made?
My answer: you often do more harm, if you support the system of organised begging. As long as the system works, children will continue to be sent to the streets instead to school. The same applies to women.
However, it makes perfect sense to keep a few rupees in coins ready for elderly or severely disabled beggars. For this group of people, daily begging is often the only way to survive.
Also bringing along pens and sweets in the tourist areas has led to a strong demand for gifts from tourists, which can often be unpleasant.
However, if you visit social institutions, are a guest somewhere or have a very special relationship with a family, small souvenirs like sweets or pens are a nice thing to take along.
Otherwise, the best support for India and its poorer population, is to donate to a well-functioning non-profit organizations.
If you don’t have money, but have time and can work, as well as looking for a cultural exchange, I recommend volunteering. However, it should be noted here, that volunteering only makes sense if you have a longer period of time and you can really get involved. Short volunteer stays of less than one month are usually only a great logistical effort, cost money and, above all, hardly bring any benefit to the needy, as they need time to adopt to you.
Chalo! Travels cooperates with the non-profit organization CHETNA. The organization is located in Delhi and has been caring for street children and working children in Delhi and the surrounding areas since 2002. More information about the NGO can be found here.
Moreover we support the small NGO Human Hope Foundation in Shimla. Here also yearly donations of 100 € can be made though us, to support one girl on her way of education.
We at Chalo! Travels, recommend our guests to donate money through us to these organization. We can also organize volunteer stay/work at CHETNA or the Human Hope Foundation.
Chalo! Travels can also organise visits of the NGO’s.