What To Do About The Incessant Issue of Alms

published on Friday, 20 January 2017

I was driving through traffic the other day and I realised that the number of beggars on the streets have increased. I didn't find it disturbing but I found it alarming. How many beggars can you give money to? How many people can you actually sufficiently help?

At first I resorted to blame the economy and even the government. But looking for who or what to put blame on won't help these poor souls. I read this post from my colleague Tobi and it sort of spoke my mind on this issue. I thought to, as usual, share it with you guys!



It used to be everywhere you went, it still is actually. Beggars. Beggars everywhere you went. Lame beggars on the roads, clutching babies. Loud and preachy ones in bus, clutching Bibles. Obsequious ones at various gates and revolving doors, genuflecting a bit too much. 

Now, like most things that existed solely in the physical realm, there are now beggars everywhere one looks on the internet, particularly on social media. And not just the good types. Rather we have the entitled ones, the ones who think the world is responsible for their misfortune and should therefore bear the cost. 

They might even be cute about it, try to employ emotional blackmail to appeal to our better sides. Plead that their helper, and only their helper, is definitely on your timeline and that would would be demonic of you if you fail to accede to their request to retweet or share. 

It is all a game, long perfected by street beggars, old and oh too young. To tug at your heartstrings and make you feel guilty or even responsible for their plight. 

Don’t be fooled however, it is not your fault they are where they are. They might make you think it is, but it usually is not. As callous as it might sound, you didn’t put them there. Unless you did. Then it is your fault. You did that. 

Giving beggars alms is not really a long-term solution to helping their case. If it were, you wouldn’t find them there the next day. Or the day after. 

If we really want to help those who beg amongst us and not just assuage our guilt, we need to stop and think about how we can make their lives better and not just the next minute. Even if it means stopping ourselves from giving that alms at that very moment. 

Except if its a life-threatening situation and it involves Emma Ugolee. Then help must be rendered forthwith. No amount is too small.

But for other less pressing needs like helping that indigent child pay his school fees or helping that widowed mother of a couple pay her rent, we can do so much better that just resorting to a quick fix just so we can feel good about ourselves. 

Crazy thought I know, but what if we got together as a people and funded religiously charities and NGOs that catered for such needs as we see advertised daily on social media. What if the people in the entertainment industry had a special health insurance scheme for the next OJBs and Emma Ugolees. And even the next Mayowa Balogun 

Why don’t we ensure that each and every one of us, family included, is signed up to some HMO?

I know they call us a fire brigade nation and we wear that badge with pride. In no other place, are people this quick to rally round and help people in critical need. I have seen sand, water and detergent mysteriously appear, as if from thin air, when a car caught on fire in the middle of the road. 

But do we always need to resort to last ditch measures to help our situation? We have proved quite adept at providing all that we need even when our government fails us. This really should be no exception.

This post first appeared on NET.