KABUL (Pajhwok): Pajhwok Afghan News findings show that daily income of beggars in Kabul has dropped by 55 percent, while experts say the government and wealthy people should assist those in need.
Experts say that in addition to wealthy people, the government ans religious scholars have a responsibility to raise awareness about those in need of help.
The government is working on a plan to identify beggars in Kabul and provide them with necessities (shelter, food, clothing and medicine) and is currenting providing assistance to those in need in the capital and provinces.
Pajhwok interviewed 51 beggars in DehAfghanan, Abdul Haq Square, Mirwais Maidan Pashtunistan road, Sadrat Square, Shahr-i-Naw and Qala-i-Fatullah area of Kabul on December 7 and 8.
The interviewees, 31 of them women and 20 other men aging 10-75, were randomly determined for interviews.
They were asked how much their daily income was four months ago and what is their current level of income.
Based on their data, Pajhwok’s calculations show on average a beggar in Kabul used to earn 318 afghanis four months ago, but now the figure has dropped to 144 afghanis.
Interviewees’ data shows that the income level of beggars varies from place to place
The average current level of beggar’s income shows that a beggar earns 153 afghanis per day in Abdul Haq Square, 149 afghanis in Mirwais Square, 144 afghanis in Deh Afghan, 142 afghanis in Shahr-i-Naw, 125 afghanis in Pashtunistan Street, 124 in Sadarat square and 90 afghanis in Qala-i-Fatullah.
The findings show that in the past, the average daily income of a beggar was as low as 90 afghanis, but as high as 550 afghanis. The findings show that the current daily income is as low as 90 afghanis, but as high as 225 afghanis.
Beggars: The govt must help needy people
Nimatullah, 38, is one of them. He is blind and with the help of his two young daughters he begs in Deh Afghan area of Kabul.
He told Pajhwok: “Our income was good previously, I would collect 300 to 400 afghanis on a daily basis, but currently cannot even earn 200 afghanis, the people’s economic situation was good before and they would help us too.”
He said he has six children and living in a rented house and sometimes his children go to sleep hungry.
He said the government should help the poor, especially in winter. The weather was cold and poor people needed more assistance.
Lailuma, 27, is another beggar. She was standing near the Ministry of Education in the shade and cold weather with her baby daughter in her arms.
She has been begging for years. She said in the past she would earn 200 to 300 afghanis, but currently she even cannot earn 80 to 100 afghanis.
“My husband was a worker of municipality, sweeping the streets all the day, he was killed in an explosion a few years ago, now I live a very bad life, all the essential commodities are expensive, we want the government to help us,” she added.
Jan Mohammad, who begs in Pashtunistan street in Kabul, he said: “My wife is handicapped, I’m also on one leg and there is no work.”
Jan Mohammad, who is 49-year-old, said he used to earn 300 to 400 afs but currently he could not find even 150 afghanis in whole day. The beggar wants the government and people to help them.
The responsibilities of govt, wealthy people towards beggars
Religious scholar Abdul Mubin Maher said that the government had a responsibility to be aware of the plight of those in need and to solve their problems and to help them. Spiritual value to beggars was more important than helping them financially.
“If the rich people of Afghanistan pay their zakat, no poor person will remain in the society,” he said.
Maher said if the government, common people and well-off people in society recognized their responsibilities and performed them honesty, the problem of begging would be solved.
SharafuddinAzimi, a professor of psychology at Kabul University, said the country’s economic situation was not good and people could help beggars as much as before. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to take care of the beggars and help them.
“People should be held accountable and the government should raise public awareness so that people do not beg,” he said. “Because if left unmanaged, they can be left astray and lose the right path”.
However, on November 17, the Cabinet instructed the Afghan Red Crescent Society, with the help of Kabul police and other relevant agencies, to identify the beggars in Kabul and their needs and prepare (shelter, food, clothing and medicine) for them.
Pajhwok asked RCS media office via Whatsapp but it did respond.