Please stop giving pens to children in India

Giving pens to children in India is not a big deal for foreign tourists. While this may seem like an innocent act of goodwill, it has some long-lasting repercussions. Here you should stop giving pens to children in India, and some alternative ways of giving them to children in the country.

In that moment the child is the cutest child in the world.

Big brown eyes, a white smile, little school uniform so well pressed. Their tiny feet pat the ground as they run towards you, their bags flapping randomly on their backs. Other children, seeing you, begin to gather around your feet. Your head can barely come up to your stomach as they look at you, you can do nothing but smile to yourself. You are about to experience the “real” India all they talk about in guidebooks.

… begins again.


“What’s your name? Give me a pen!”

“No pen? Give me the money!”

Like a flock of noisy seagulls, a high-chorus of demands rises from the crowd, and what started as an emotional moment has ended with you being perceived as a human vending machine.

Pen! Pen! Pen!

oppose and oppose

This is a common sight across India as well as in other countries. big hearted (or deep pockets) Foreign tourists arrive, encountering the cutest children living in less-than-ideal conditions, and hearts are pulled. Tourists buy them pens, candy, some cheap toys. Children rejoice, tourists feel like saints, everyone wins, right?

wrong. Although the intentions may be good, the results are not:

  • Children would expect foreigners to give them free stuff. There’s another word for it: begging. Are you comfortable encouraging begging?
  • If begging is encouraged, children may skip school in favor of taking to the streets and collecting goods from foreigners. Why go to school when you can take advantage of the streets?
  • Scams come to the fore where children ask tourists to buy goods, then return the goods to the store in exchange for profit.
  • “begging mafia” May recruit children to work for them. Children are often crippled to make them more miserable, and thus beneficial.

put on your parenting cap

“Oh, you’re so cold-hearted,” you might be thinking, “a pen is just a little gift. Besides, they need it!”

Not sure, eh? Let’s try another way: iImagine you are a parent. If your child comes to you and demands that you give them something, will you refuse?

What if, when you decline their demand, they ask you to pay?

… I’m thinking the answer is something along the lines of “oh” hell new.” Why would you do this to someone else’s kids on the street if you didn’t?

Photoshoot time! (Take both photos and post them online with the consent of both parents.)

What you can do Instead of giving pens to children in India, do

I am not saying that you should be stingy and close your heart forever. It’s OK to Help Those in Need—Just Make Sure You do it responsibly. Here are 5 options for giving pens to children in India:

1. Buy school supplies from a local convenience store and give them to a teacher.

It kills many birds with one stone:

  • You contribute to the local economy by buying pens locally.
  • This ensures that donations go into the right hands, and prevents children from quarreling over who gets what.
  • School supplies cannot be easily misused as a cash donation.
  • You finally have to give the pen to the kids. Win all around!

2. Get a mini photoshoot done.

Kids everywhere in the world love to ham it up for the camera. If you have a digital camera, ask if you can take a picture of them—the answer is definitely yes—and walk away! Show them the photos you took, and you’re sure to be rewarded with all kinds of giggles, hummingbirds and more photo taking demands.

Even better: let them take some pictures too! Just make sure they are gentle with your camera or phone.

If you want to take it to the next level, consider getting instant camera For those special kids. Photos can be expensive, and many families don’t have the money or resources to take pictures of themselves. An instant photo is a great gift that can be cherished far more than a pen… and they’re more fun!

Tip: try to do this only when family is around, or when not very Lots of kids Otherwise it can lead to some bickering about who gets to keep the photo in the end.

3. Take some time to talk or teach a special high five or game.

Children may be interested in material objects, but you have something more valuable to offer them: a chance to practice language skills! Most people are happy to do this, and hand games and high fives are something that can easily be explained in basic English and used interchangeably for days to come.

4. Go on a Responsible Tour That Benefits the Children’s Community

to be a good tourist In Already (let’s hope it never happens gone missing), and tour operators are listening. “Responsible” tours ensure local communities benefit by distributing income among the communities in which they operate, drawing up itineraries with local leaders, properly disposing of waste, and more.

is an example New Delhi Walking Tour. drive by Salaam Balak TrustIt provides education, shelter and medical assistance to street children in Delhi.

5. Donate to an NGO or charity working with children in India.

Sometimes, we need to admit that we have no clue what’s best for people. And that’s fine.

There are hundreds of charities and NGOs that work to improve the living conditions and education of children in India. They know what’s going on, to say the least, and giving them money can be much more effective (and efficient) than figuring out what to do themselves.

However, it is important to donate to organizations that have proven effective. To save you some time, here are several reputed Indian organizations you can donate to:

  • Seva Mandir Works to improve the lives of people including children in rural Rajasthan. This includes providing quality education and proper child care.
  • Muskaan Foundation It has various objectives, one of which is to provide proper education and Nutrition for children in school.
  • chirgo Working for improving the quality of education and general welfare of young students in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
  • Akshaya Patra Combating malnutrition by providing mid-day meals to over 17 lakh school children every day.
  • Ascending Have a youth program that goes beyond the classroom and promotes extra-curriculars like sports, trekking, and just playing outside—all necessary for kids to stay away from crime and drugs.

go ahead and be responsible

So my discourse ends. I know not everyone will agree with me (hi I am, I have failed), and there are other options I haven’t looked into. That’s where you come in.

What is your opinion on this subject? Do you give to children and beggars?

pin It!

Hail transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will pay a small commission if you book or buy something through the link at no extra cost to you.

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