Sunday, March 02, 2008

Are we one of them?

Five or ten years ago in Aachen, Germany the beggars were mostly alcoholics, drug addicts, or homeless people. But nowadays, in Aachen you can see a lot of beggars are "clean-well" dressed. When you talk about beggars in Aachen, people would respond you like this, "ahhh mostly they are alcoholics or drug addicts, they will use the money to take more drugs and buy more drinks."

Is it true?

In Germany, not every homeless can get the social welfare from the government. They have to prove a lot of things and at least they have to have a fixed home address. So, if they don't have fixed home address, they can never get the social welfare.

My friend who worked in asylum shelter told me that the refugees who live in the shelter are not like most of people think; like they only get the social welfare and they don't need to work.
They have to face the reality that sometimes they live in a very small place with (sometimes) children. The most shivery thing is they might be deported at any time.

Back to the beggar story again. Actually, sometimes I can see from the beggars' faces that they really need help, but not everybody willing to help them. Most of people think that those beggars use the money to buy more alcohol. But if we don't help them, it will cause more social problems to us. Giving them 50 cents or 1 Euro is not gonna make you poor. Furthermore, they can't even buy alcohol with your 50 cents if they really need food.

Last weekend, there was a beggar in front of a church. He was not very old nor dirty nor in alcohol odor. He was sitting outside of the church and silent. After the mass, most of the people came out. Suddenly, he was so happy and hoping that his "brothers/sisters" would give him something. But in contrary, I didn't see people help him. I believe they also think that he'll use the money to support his alcoholic lifestyle. But is it really like that??? I don't know :)

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