Street children in Cape Town are a familiar sight to anyone who frequents the City. But how would you feel when you start an initiative for them, only to see the kids turn on it?
That’s exactly what’s happened late last week when the Give Responsibly campaign was attacked by the very people it is trying to help.
We often find ourselves caught in limbo when we come across someone less fortunate than us – especially when that person is only a child.
So why Give Responsibly?
While your first impulse is to help someone who’s worse off than you, what we’ve found in Cape Town’s CBD is that hand-outs don’t help. In the best case scenario, small change given at a stoplight makes life on the street more viable. In the worst case, it can feed a cycle of anti-social behaviour that keeps people on the street and away from help.
It takes more than money to turn lives around.
Your small change can be put to better use by the NGO’s who are helping provide people living on the streets with warm beds, hot meals, family reunification services, trauma therapy and the necessary life skills to help them off the streets. Your small change, given to these organisations, can be part of creating big change.
Help those who help the homeless best.
We’ve tried to make giving where it will make a difference as easy as giving on the street, by setting up an SMS line: Each time you text the number 38088, you donate to NGOs working to afford people living on the streets of Cape Town’s CBD the right help at the right time. Each SMS costs R10, of which an average of R8 (depending on your cellular service provider) goes to these organisations.
So the next time someone on the streets asks you for money, rather SMS 38088 and give where it will make a difference. Give responsibly.
Clearly this is what we would all call a good idea – but this is not what some of the children in the CBD thought. They did this to one of the paste-ups that had been placed in the City:
— Design Infestation (@DznInfestation) December 7, 2012
But the point remains – how do we regulate something like what these kids have just done?
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