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  • Out of sight, out of mind?

    by Rumbold
    1st February, 2011 at 1:45 pm    

    Bangladesh, which is co-hosting the 2011 cricket world cup, is planning to pay around 300 disabled beggars in the city of Chittagong to stay off the streets for the next three months:

    Some 300 disabled beggars would be paid about $2 (£1.20) a day for three months to compensate them for their loss of earning, Mayor Mansur Alam said. He added that the beggars would also be given a chance to move into rehabilitation centres…
    The decision comes days after the government proposed to move all the beggars in the capital Dhaka to welfare centres until the World Cup was over.

    The only positives in this is that the beggars may receive a steady if small income (though some of that is likely to be stolen in the distribution), as well as the possibility of accommodation. Other than that, there is nothing to recommend this scheme. It amounts to a form of cleansing, where undesirables are herded into centres and held so as not to disturb the eyes of visitors. Many of these individuals are presumably unable to work due to injuries and thus unable to pay for accommodation and food, and it would be better if they could be provided with long term care and support. Whilst that is not always possible in a poor if developing country, any sort of support must be better than this.

    (Hat-tip: Sarah at Same Difference)

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    Filed in: Bangladesh,Disability

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    1. Dr Paul — on 1st February, 2011 at 2:09 pm  

      Didn’t the authorities in Ireland do something similar a few years back during a visit of someone important to Dublin? I heard that all the beggars were rounded up and dropped off somewhere out of town so that Dublin’s streets would not be disfigured by these unfortunate people. At least in Dhaka they are — at least nominally — going to be given a few bob a day for three months.

    2. damon — on 1st February, 2011 at 2:34 pm  

      Bangladesh is a disgrace in that way. Taking a train out of Dhaka station once, there were children standing off to the side of the train begging, and some of them seemed to have medical conditions.
      The idea of hiding this for a couple of weeks for some high powered cricket tournament is realy low.

      But the country has 700,000 beggars, so that is quite a lot. I live beside a traffic light junction which is almost a daily point of work for two or three east European Roma Big Issue sellers. Wearing the high visibility vests and asking every driver who gets stoped at the lights whether they like to give them some money. It gets a bit old after a couple of months.

    3. Kismet Hardy — on 1st February, 2011 at 3:38 pm  

      I’ve lived in chittagong and dhaka, and damon is totally spot on about Dhaka. The beggar population is chittagong is comparatively sparse and it all seems pointless seeing as all arriving nations will have to travel via Dhaka? It’s like Korea banning the sale of dog in restaurants during the world cup I guess

    4. Golam Murtaza — on 5th February, 2011 at 9:44 am  

      Never been to Chittagong but have visited Dhaka quite a few times and the dire poverty endured by a large proportion of its population is visible almost everywhere. Words alone aren’t really strong enough to describe how disgraceful it is. As is the case in other Third World countries there are groups of people working to try and tackle this, but there are never enough of them.

      What makes it worse now is that the street dwellers have to live beneath colossal advertising hoardings advertising luxurious lifestyles and absurdly beautiful and healthy looking people. So they have the contrast with their own wretched situation rubbed in their faces every bloody day. I want to tear all these hoardings down and burn them.

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