Of marbles, candies, balloons and trinklets....

Travel Forums General Talk Of marbles, candies, balloons and trinklets....

1. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

The eco-tourism project treks in Luang NamTha states: "what not to bring:.....candy, balloons, small trinkets for the kids, items from your first aid kit, antibiotics, aspirin, etc. "

The brochure in Luang Namtha (Laos) goes on: "Why not?" "Giving away candy, balloons and trinkets encourages begging and an attitude that expects gifts from tourists. If you want to help the kids consider giving a donation to the local school through the headman of the village. Giving medicines encourages misuse of sorely needed medical help, develops antibiotic resistance etc. Give medical items only to a health care professional...."

Yet, we travellers have the tendency to do it...i have seen a German girl giving away marbles to some kid the moment she stepped off the boat in Pak Beng...there was chaos...and kids started fighting!

Is giving to kids in the third world countries wrong - ethically or otherwise ?

It will be interesting to hear your views...have you done it ? have you seen others doing it?


2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I have given money...but generally I give food and/or clothing. I am a sucker for any child's face.....

3. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Those innocent faces...yup...me, too, food and clothings...I suppose that's okay?

4. Posted by Twinkle (Respected Member 1112 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

In the past I have given Kids sweets and stuff but not in a blatent way as i realised it had potential to cause arguements between the kids.I usually just have a few little treats kicking around in my bag for a moment when there is a particulary charming child who has nothing, what kid doesnt love sweets?!?!and if ever ive ended up buying little bracelets or beads from kids ive paid more than the odds for them! I see what you mean about encouraging them to beg but at the same time, we come to these countries which dont have a lot of wealth and you know as tourists we have enough to share something, whether it be an item of clothing,food or a treat....and I suppose its reassuring for them to know a tourist is always going to be around!its not an ideal situation but then again it aint an ideal world, so I say the odd bit of help isnt doing any harm!

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

That's a tough one, but I'd have to agree it would probably create more chaos than anything else. A donation to a local charity would go farther than a handful of trinkets. Still, it must be hard to resist those eyes...

The only developing country I've visited so far is Cuba (is it even considered a developing country? free health care and education but extreme poverty?). We brought soap, candy, asprin, American money, toothpaste, and various other items for the hotel staff - items they couldn't buy at home, or were rationed. It's illegal now, though.

6. Posted by mally (Respected Member 199 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

going anywhere. i always take a t/shirt bar of soap ,tooth paste.etc.etc. it's always a help for someone. or a keep sake for others. when i went to africa we gave all our clothes away . the last little boy asked could he have my jeans . i had to reply will i be arrested on the way to the airport. everyone laughed.( i was wareing them)never be too eager to give. you'll know with experience.
when and how.

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

There has been much debate about this over the years on various boards that I post on.

In general, the practice of giving sweets or candies should be discouraged. It's bad for the teeth, and in small villages without a dentist around to do fillings or for the very poor who cannot afford a dentist, that's a really bad thing.

I have given out books and pens to children before, but also have been places where any van with tourists gets surrounded by kids asking for candy or pens or money.

All that being said, I think it would be better to give to a local medical clinic or the local school. A well stocked clinic and a well stocked school will hopefully help people get the assistance they need, and perhaps even encourage some parents to send their children.


8. Posted by mally (Respected Member 199 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

well put Greg couldn't agree more.

9. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I met this guy from Holland in Siem Reap who donates blood - once a year -when he is travelling thru third world countries. has been doing it for the past four years, he says...i am amazed!