Tourist Awarness of Poverty
As a traveler's encounter impoverished people in developing (or Third world) countries many of them respond by giving donations of food or money to the needy.
However while trying to help by giving inappropriate gifts this may actually make the situation worse for these people in the long run. Each society has different ways of dealing with their poor. Social and/or financial support may be lacking entirely or infiltrated by corruption.
Children and women are those hit the hardest by poverty. UNICEF has attempted to define street children into four categories.
1) Children on the street, who work on the street, but live at home.
2) Children on the street, who work and sleep, on the street.
3) Abandoned children who have no home at all.
4) Children at high risk who may be involved in street life.
Children may leave home due to "push" factors which include poverty or abuse in the home, and "pull" factors which include wanting to make money or gain their own independence. Often a street child will use money to binge on candy, movies, cigarettes, and food rather than saving it or taking care of their basic needs like health, shelter and hygiene.They may be able to acquire money but lack the experience, support and guidanceof a responsible adult to take care of them. . "Child work" is often normal where a child is expected to help in a family business as part of socialization process. "Child labor"
culturally is different in the fact that it is more exploitive of children. Sometimes the two blur making distinction difficult. Excessive work can rob a child of their childhood play and lead to long-term health and socialization problems. Child prostitution and "sex tourism" is unfortunately common. Sex tourists are individuals who enter into exploitive sexual relations with local men, women, and children. Children are actively sought since they are erroneously believed to be less likely to be HIV positive. Supporting slightly shady businesses in developing countries that are black market (illegal currency exchange, drugs ECT) may indirectly support such rings since the same individuals may be part of many types of illegal activity.
Street children who are independent or under the control of an adult are very attracted to the lure of quick money from tourists. By giving indiscriminately travelers undermine proper adult authority. For instance if money can be had by simply bothering a tourist until they give in there is no reason to listen to a teacher or parent figure. Travelers must be judicious in what they give. Possessions are more appreciated if earned.


In Nepal, children commonly used the expression "hellopen" to greet travelers which is from "hello can I have a pen?" Travelers had in the past given out pens indiscriminately in the belief they were helping to educate these children. In reality there is no shortage of pens but this behavior has encouraged an aggressive begging in these children.
There is no easy solution to what to do when confronted with a hungry child or needy mother in the Third world, as each situation will be different. Do what you think is best but remember, there are other options. A donation of money or clothing to a local children's' or women's shelter can be so much
more effective in the long run.
In summary, good tourism respects the culture of the host nation, operates in harmony with the environment, defends the rights of children, does not demean persons or places, and ensures that economic benefits reach all sectors of society.