Street beggars are individuals or group of persons who beg or make a living from the streets by asking people for money, food and clothes as gifts or charity. Although the problem of begging is a worldwide phenomenon, it is more pronounced in developing countries. The pandemic has seen an increase in street begging, especially in countries like Maldives.
Street begging is more serious than just poverty. Studies show that the psycho-social effects of street begging include the development of inferiority complex, lack of social interaction, loss of self-respect and dignity, increased mindset of poverty and loss of self-confident.
Begging arises in societies where there is no appropriate job for the people with a special profession or skill and the society can’t effectively solve the problems of the poor. However, other causes of street begging have been identified as physical disability, culture, national disaster, civil war and even bad habits (drug, alcohol, and gambling dependencies).
Although helping beggars by offering them what they’re asking for might seem the right thing to do at the moment, in certain situations, people question whether beggars on streets are homeless or fraudsters. In many countries, people who claimed to be sleeping rough were actually fraudsters who were making “substantial amounts of money”.
“More shelters for the homeless should be opened where training in various crafts and trades may be provided. Such an effort will help the inhabitants to lead a dignified life. Instead of offering money to beggars, people should encourage them to work and thereby help them earn their living,” stated IFP Spokesperson on Social Development, Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana, MPL in 2015.
The Maldives has seen a massive increase in street beggers and you can find them outside banks and industrial areas. The government needs to find an effective solution to this as it has a huge impact on the society.