There are several reasons as to why people take refuge on busy streets begging for spare change.
Sometimes, beggars do not even look close to ‘needy and homeless’ but look more like school going children with mothers and fathers who pretend to be stranded halfway to their final destination.
Begging on the streets is not gender or age sensitive, whether male or female, child or granny, disabled or not, it is done everywhere.
While it could be true that some are looking for shelter and means for survival, there are those who are just not ready to make use of their hands and work for it.
Below are musings on some of the possible reasons as to why a rather healthy farmer from Cyangugu or fisherman from Lake Kivu will abandon ship and head central to Kigali’s streets to fend for a meal and shelter.
This is probably the main reason for this begging commotion on the streets. There are people who are categorized under the extremely poor—in other words, the poor call them very poor. They can hardly afford to get any basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and medication.
These people are left with no choice but to move and settle on the streets to beg because they have to survive. They are mostly homeless and the street has become their homestead, the gutters their verandas and the trees their shelter regardless of the weather.
Sometimes, whole families relocate to the streets and the situation where parents train and initiate their children into begging has become common. At the end of the day, a new breed of big-eyed-cute kids are loitering the bus stops and busy roads tagging strangers clothes for loose change.
Disability is not inability; however some people think that because they are disabled, they will win sympathy from strangers hence they hit the streets.
Usually, when they receive money or other items they have not worked for; it becomes the order of the day. Disabled beggars have no excuse to refrain from working. They can engage in income generation activities while in small co-operatives and associations for the disabled. If other disabled people have made it in sports and in the business world why can’t beggars follow suit.
Becoming creative in artistic ventures, handcraft, painting or tailoring will generate income and these are much better than sitting and begging under the scorching sun.
Sitting in one place and watching a new day break and dawn on the street corner is sheer laziness. Beggars have a mentality that they will receive everything on a silver platter. ‘Man eateth where he worketh’ is a popular saying that is backed by the fact that, ‘God blesses the works of our hands.’
There are several jobs that can be taken on by these beggars but they simply choose not to work because they are too lazy.
With the great belief that urban life is more comfortable than the rural setting, several Rwandans have abandoned their homely lifestyles in the countryside and headed to big cities in search for greener pastures.
Unfortunately, when they migrate to urban areas, they fail to get jobs and as a result, some of them find it hard to survive without any source of income.