GEORGE NEWS - Are you as a well-meaning Georgian supporting kids to become hardcore druggies? You are apparently viewed as being part of the "biggest suckers" around, says Freddy Trout, CEO of People Against Substance Abuse (Pasa).
Trout says by giving money and food to street children, you support them in a lifestyle that leads to no good and will eventually cause them to become hardened criminals and drug addicts. And you may well become a victim of the same youngster you hand out money to.
Here follows Trout's heartfelt plea to Georgians:
We would like to make an urgent appeal to the public of George to stop giving money to children on the street, and no ... please do not buy them any food either. These children are not your responsibility, so it is not up to you to make sure they have something to eat or drink.
These kids have parents and a place to stay, they are not homeless. Their parents are responsible for them, nobody else! They just want money to buy drugs or glue to sniff, they even use the money they get to gamble with the dice. They don't buy food from the money they get and of that you can be sure.
They have a place where they can go to for food, and even a shelter in Borcherds, called Kidstop, but they do not want to follow rules or get educated. These children should be in schools getting an education but every time someone gives them money on a street corner, they rob them of that opportunity because they are helping them to stay on the street.
Beggar kids earn more than their givers
Some of these kids get more money in a day than the person giving it to them, and then they only use it to gamble, buy drugs or glue.
If I made up to R300 for half a day begging on a corner, then why should I go and work for someone where I have to follow orders and work 8 hours? This is the mindset of these kids.
I asked them one day why they do not go and beg at the robots in their own area. Their exact words to me were, "The white people give us more money, the coloured and black people chase us away."
'White people' owe them
These kids have been taught (obviously by their parents) that the "white people" still owe them something. If you want to ease your own conscience and make a real lasting difference then why don't you take that child home and give him a better life, change his circumstances and then you will change his life.
You don't do it by giving him R5 or even 50c.
You also make it so much more difficult for us and other organisations that really want to help these children, because the more we try to make an impact, the more difficult it gets because they just want to be on street corners begging for money.
'George people the biggest suckers'
The last person we helped off the streets of George and sent to rehab three years ago was a heroin addict. Her boyfriend died a year after she went to rehab. On the way to the rehab I asked her why all the drug addicts on the street come to or end up in George. Her answer was a very direct, "Because the people of George are the biggest suckers."
Perhaps we will never get rid of the problem because the citizens of George are still the biggest suckers.
As for me, I will continue to chase them home when I see them or call law enforcement to come and remove them. At least I will not be a part of why kids stay on the street, I want to be part of the solution.
Don't get your throat slit
What is your choice today? Will you join me in being part of the solution or will you continue to fuel and feed the problem, creating more room for kids to become hardcore druggies in the end and then also contribute to the high levels of crime?
This remains your choice, but don't complain when your house gets broken into or if your car gets stolen or if you get hijacked one evening or robbed. Maybe that same child that you gave R10 to will spare your life if he breaks into your house after he got high from your money and you catch him red-handed, or he will just slit your throat and smile while he does it because that is the reality.
Please think next time when you are tempted to give money to a child on a street corner, rather give it to the organisations that are trying to improve their lives.
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