Begging is lucrative business
Kathmandu’s streetchildren are an
enterprising lot earning a pretty penny begging. Thamel, the haunt of
tourists, is their favourite area of operation, and their business peaks after
A few among them earn quite a lot, spend it all on food and glue for a high and
have no worries. Some among them have pick pocketing as a sideline. But still
life is not all beer and skittles for them.
There are some preying on them! For example, the 20 streetchildren who sleep on
the pavement of Thamel opposite the Sanchayakosh building are often robbed by
drug addicts and the older streets boys who now feel awkward to beg. “Sometimes
police come and threaten us and force us to part with some money,” said Kancha,
one of the boys. They fearlessly obstruct traffic and beg for money from people
in the vehicles and pedestrians alike. They resort to wily ways to target women
and foreigners. The oft-employed method is to tell the women and foreigners:
‘Hungry! No father! No mother! Money’. This sob story, very often, moves the
target group. At the end of the night the streetchildren of Thamel are richer by
Rs 500 on an average.
The streetchildren of Thamel earn the most. In other areas of the capital the
pickings are less. Kancha Pariyar, 14, makes around Rs 500 a day begging, enough
for the next day to buy him food and glue.
Kancha who is partially blind during the daytime, said, “Since I cannot beg in
the midday due to my eye problem, I make less money than others.” He added that
for him night time is the best time when everyone is asleep and people coming
out of restaurants, some of them drunk, give money generously. Ramesh Adhikary,
the richest among his peers, claims to make Rs 1,500 a day. He is into pick
pocketing also. He is a hardnosed businessman. He says, “Foreigners sometimes
give us expensive biscuits and packets of milk, but we sell them back to the
shops at half price.” Showing a scar on his knee, Govind Pariyar said on Dashain
day he met with an accident while begging and immediately took a taxi and headed
to a nearby NGO for help. Talking about the NGOs, boys said some of them give
enough food, some provide free treatment and most of them provide shelter and
allow them to move in and out anytime.
In the winter, they often make a bonfire and huddle around it sharing their
experiences on the street. Whenever they save enough money, they go to watch
Nepali movies in Biswojyoti and Rajana Cinema halls.
With abundance of money in their pockets, they are high with glues and
cigarettes on their hands and can hardly think of what would their next day be.
Himalayan Times - 7-1-2007
keyterms: streetchildren, begging, money,
Thamel, Kathmandu, children, Nepal
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