Children definitely didn’t know what begging was all about. Somebody taught them how to beg and whoever taught them, relatives or some unrelated adults close to vulnerable children who happen to know that begging can be good business.
Most of the adults mentioned above may not be incapacitated in any way. They may happen to be adults who are either stuck in poverty and they just don’t know how to get out of it. And if somebody ‘advises’ them to send their children begging on roadsides, they will just take the advice hook, line and sinker.
There are other adults who like begging by nature. They want to set out begging but feel shy doing it on the streets. These will not hesitate to teach their children how to beg on the streets.
This is the type that will send their children on the streets to beg than sending them to school even when there is free education. It is this type which doesn’t see good reason for sending their children to school if they can make more money from begging.
Then there are these idiotic adult groups which exploit children by getting poor children from their parents on to the streets as begging ‘labourers’. All the money the children collect is all passed on to the ’employers’ while the children are given just ‘alms’.
Then there are mothers who were beggars themselves and all they know is life on the streets.
Now, these children are sent begging because they know there are people who are kind enough to give some money to the begging children. But what the givers ought to know is that the more money you give, the greater the incentive for children to continue begging.
In the process, by giving money to the begging children, the giver is in essence keeping these children for ever out of school.
In other words, by giving money to the beggars, you are literally contributing to the creation of a new generation of beggars thus sustaining to the vicious cycle of exploiting children by adults.
So what can we do to end this menace? The solution lies in addressing the circumstances that lead children into begging. Fundamentally, this is a responsibility of government.
What other governments have done is to get the child beggars off the street and into an institution where these children can be transformed into useful adults. This can be done by persuasion or by force. But it must be done.