Simple things to pass out
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India > Community Forums > Volunteering and Charitable Causes in India
#1
| Member

Simple things to pass out

Hi all,
I remember in my first visit to India that I was asked my many school-aged children if I had any pens for them. I suppose this was for school?
For my next visit, what are some useful tangible items I could have on hand to hand out?

(I realize this isn't volunteering but perhaps this thread fits better here than elsewhere.)

7 Replies

#2
| Member
You can give stationery items like crayons, pencil boxes, scales, erasrers or lunch boxes.
#3
| Layperson
C'mon, kids can afford pens. It's just an excuse to beg and pester every foreigner who comes past. Don't encourage it!
#4
| Senior Member
NRI is right. Don't contribute to the problem. Even when they resort to asking for a photograph. Teach the children how to engage with a foreigner. Ask them their name, or how old they are. You'll be surprised how quickly they forget about the pen.

Under certain circumstances, e.g. attending a marriage ceremony in a village, it is appropriate to give each of the small children a toffee or ten rupees note, but check with locals first. Children shouldn't be taught that foreigners are a source of gifts and wealth.

As a traveler you can leave a positive impression just by being friendly.
#5
| Member

Originally posted by: Ajnby View Post

You can give stationery items like crayons, pencil boxes, scales, erasrers or lunch boxes.


Giving doesn't means material things it also involves your time & energy which are more difficult to spare.
#6
| Layperson
A Ladakhi kid asked me a few days ago what "one Pen" means, because he was taught to say it to foreigners but had no idea what this greeting meant!
#7
| Maha Guru Member
I beseech the OP with folded hands and bended knee, don't flaunt your white-sahib-ness by handing out free gifts. It merely humiliates the recipients, turns them into beggars.

"I suppose this was for school?"---no, it was not. It is a sahib's fantasy that the pens are for school and that pens are so rare that they must be brought from the west. In fact the kids learn that some tourists hand out free pens, so they pester all tourists for them. If there's free stuff to be had on the street, why should the kids go to school?
#8
| Member

Originally posted by: RPG View Post

I beseech the OP with folded hands and bended knee, don't flaunt your white-sahib-ness by handing out free gifts. It merely humiliates the recipients, turns them into beggars.


Got it. will not be bringing hand-outs. Glad I asked.

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