Have you ever had to beg total strangers for money?
A couple of times, I’m sure I’ve probably forgotten my wallet and had to ask someone for money. But that’s not such a big deal (I think). It’s just one person you may have to ask and you could do that discreetly. But have you ever had to publicly stand on the streets and beg everyone that passes for money? Jiggling your bucket of coins and asking “Any change please, any change?”
I have. It wasn’t a funny experience, but I’ll do it again if I had the chance.
It was awkward at first. I was hesitant. People were looking at me funny – or so I thought. I wasn’t jiggling the bucket hard enough. I wasn’t talking loud enough. People passed by, some said, “sorry no change”. Others walked straight ahead without casting as much as a side glance at me. The occasional person dropped a few coins in. After a few minutes, I gathered some confidence. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. So if I was going to beg, I was definitely going to beg well!
Okay, let’s address the obvious question. Why was I begging on the streets of London, precisely by St. Paul’s station.
You see, I’d always assumed that people who stood on the streets of London, with similar buckets asking for a donation to their charity, often worked for the charity or were paid to do so. Till I stood at St. Paul’s, jiggling my bucket to raise help money for Macmillan Cancer Centre. I stood there with some of my colleagues: Lawyers, Non-Lawyers and Partners. Yeah, some partners begged as well. Never mind how important they are, or how much money they’ve got. They took out one hour or two or three of their day to stand at St. Paul’s station. I was very impressed by the guy (Let’s call him R) who took up his entire Volunteer Day to do this.
So back to me begging. I had initially been sticking to R, begging in the same area as he, afraid to venture out to another side of the road on my own. (For some reason (or is it just my imagination) passers-by seemed to drop more coins in his bucket than mine). I decided to go in search of greener pastures. I walked to the busier side of the street, and I wouldn’t forget the two lovely elderly women who stopped to ask if I was a Macmillan nurse. No, I replied, “I’m only helping them raise some money”. She dug into her purse and replied “Oh those nurses are wonderful. I’ll never pass by an opportunity to donate”. I think she dropped a £2 coin. Every little helps!
At the end of my hour shift, I had such a sense of fulfilment. Begging had never been more fulfilling.
I emptied my bucket into R’s, took off my green overall and wished him the best for the rest of the day (He seemed unbothered to be there for the rest of the day, and was happily munching on his sandwich).
Macmillan was one of the charities my office supported. We had events very often to help raise money. It was one of the ways we lived out our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I had pitched in to help during my one-hour lunchtime.
The idea behind CSR is easy. You have a business. Your business thrives in society. How are you giving back to society?
In Nigeria, I know a few businesses that have a very visible CSR initiative. But I’m afraid, that the majority don’t appear to do so. I think it’ll be a great idea for businesses to pick a charity and publicly declare that their charity and help raise funds for it. Employees could also be entitled to a day off to volunteer with the said charity or any charity of their choice.
Or you could organise mini-events at work, and raise money for the charity. Some examples from my office are:
And if you’re just an individual, you’re not exempted from social responsibility as well. Let’s call it Individual Social Responsibility – or simply the good old Volunteering!
It could be awkward at first. Like the time I was part of a group that visited an Orphanage in Ibadan, or the Prisons in Enugu – unsure of why I was really there and if I was saying/doing the right things at that moment.
I’ve recently signed up to attend an event – four sisters who love to cook have organised a night-in to simply cook and invite guests to eat and have a good time. For free. Everyone attending is invited to consider making a donation to Macmillan Cancer Care.
Similarly, you could host a barbecue or game night and ask people to donate as well – to any good cause.
What (free) contributions do you make to the society you live in. Do you volunteer anywhere? Visit orphanages/ the Sick / Prisons? Do you work in a place that has a visible CSR policy? Is this something you can pitch to your bosses? Or maybe start it?
I’m trying to consciously create time for volunteering and I hope you will too. On a lighter note, have you ever had to publicly beg a stranger for money? How did that go?
pS: If you’re aware of any good volunteering opportunities in Nigeria, could you please state below, as a couple of people have asked me this question.
ppS: Being in the UK, exposes me to all sort of things people do to raise money for charity! Swim the Nile, Cycle to China, Climb Mount Everest. I exaggerate but you get the gist. Hopefully, one day I can run a 10k race. If you know how much I hate physical exercise, then you know that that’s a mean goal!
read too: Why comparison is a lose-lose situation and How I almost became a quack doctor
cassandra ikegbuneMay 23, 2016 at 21:40
This sounds like a really great idea to raise money for charitable causes. I always wonder how those “walk for cancer” and co help, it just raised awareness right and not exactly for funds?Anyeays, I guess I won’t feel so shy if I were with friends/colleagues but I don’t think I’ve ever had to ask a stranger for money. That will be soooo hard for me!www.cassiedaves.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 23, 2016 at 22:26
I used to wonder how those worked as well. But apparently they ask people to support them and raise funds for the charity!
PreciousMay 24, 2016 at 01:41
Hehehehe Kachee, your title got me. I dived into this post thinking you got stranded, homeless or something then had to beg. You begged for a good cause. The fulfillment that comes from supporting others is immeasurable.I have never begged before but I once had to “pull” customers into a shop by verbally convincing them at a “new job”. That was one of the hardest days of my life as there was loud music booming into my ear drums. My “boss” got mad at me each time a customer veered into the neighbouring shop. Needless to say I never returned to the tormenting job again after that first day. Three quarters of my meagre pay went into transportation then the remaining one quarter went for “mama put” purchases. Ha! That was was worst than begging, my friend. I should tell the full story someday.There is this faith-based NGO in Port Harcourt called, Rhema Care Partners. They care for HIV partners and the underprivileged in the society. I once volunteered with them and it was an awesome experienced that has stayed with me.Precious Core Blog
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 25, 2016 at 10:18
The title seemed to get to everyone! Lol. Convincing people on the street can be hard! Glad you didn’t have to do that for long. Thanks for dropping the name of the place in PH. I’ll be sure to mention them to people who ask. 😘😘
BisolaMay 24, 2016 at 05:40
The title though. I was already saying “poor Kachee”. I’ve come close to begging from strangers once, when I was stranded at Ketu, with Ikorodu buses going for N500. And I had just N200. I had to take a bike straight home. If it’s for charity, why not?
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 24, 2016 at 11:26
Hahahaha. That was the first title that came to me. Not very long ago, I got home, and intended to take money from the cash machine at the station, but it was out of service and I had to take a bus home. I asked a random guy and he said he didn’t have , that he was just about to ask me for change! Was so weird.But of course. If it’s for charity we will happily do it.
NedouxMay 24, 2016 at 15:45
Ah Kachee, I was already shaking my head slowly from left to right with emotion, as I wondered what circumstance caused you to jiggle a bucket of coins. I enjoyed the way that you introduced this post, well done!I recall seeing an article about someone who ran a marathon to raise money for a friend’s cancer treatment. Volunteering for a good cause is very inspiring. Companies even have an added incentive to contribute their CSR quota, I believe such donations give them certain tax exemptions.On a personal level, every little act of kindness makes the world shine brighter. :-)PS: I’ve never had to beg for money from strangers. I remember being told a story about well-dressed people who devised what I like to call an “executive begging strategy”. They’d station themselves close to the ATMs, sometimes pretending to make a withdrawal. It’s kinda hard to say no to a beggar that has just spotted you clutching a fistful of Naira notes.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 25, 2016 at 20:12
Nedoux! Loool. Thank God it wasn’t anything serious.Oh yes, people are constantly running marathons here. It’s encouraging! There’s that argument against CSR, that companies only do it for the reputational and economic benefits – but I think that’s less important as long as they help the community.But yes! Every little act of kindness is a step in the right direction.Those well dressed people! I saw quite a few of them in Lagos. TBH, horrid stories we hear make it more difficult to help random people on the street.Thanks for your comment!! xx
Berry DakaraJune 1, 2016 at 16:21
I’m glad to be back in my church in Atlanta, as they’re great with providing serving and volunteer opportunities. It’s something I miss doing. One thing I really wanted to do though was read to sick kids in hospitals but I’m afraid I’ll spend more time crying than reading.Berry Dakara Blog
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJune 3, 2016 at 16:25
I know what you mean. In as much as I loved to volunteer, I always get moved to cry at some places. Church is a great one to be involved in as well – there’s often loads of opportunities there.
AbbyJuly 18, 2016 at 21:48
Volunteering has been such an important part of my life since 2013 that I take very seriously. And that quote from Ghandi is one of the reasons I volunteer. The experience is always fulfilling,satisfying and rewarding. I’ve just recently set up (with a friend) an NGO as well focused on raising scoliosis awareness in Nigeria and in just a few months we’ve gotten so much encouragement and been able to offer help and useful information to persons in need. It’s not been easy starting off but I’m so excited for the future!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 19, 2016 at 16:45
Girl! When I stumbled on your website, I was so proud of whoever was behind it. I honestly didn’t even know what scoliosis was which is so sad considering how common it appears to be. Very well done for all you’re doing! God strengthen you!
AbbyJuly 20, 2016 at 17:18
Amen! Thank you very much for your kind words! 😊😊
UfuomaOctober 6, 2016 at 16:43
Haha! I was drawn by the title and I’m like, “why will Kachi be begging?” and then I read through and realized it was a volunteering experience, which of course is always a noble one. Well done!My closest to doing anything that required help from the street was when I did this project on the blog: http://theufuoma.com/30-peo… I was so nervous to approach people for the interviews but in the end, it went better than I had thought. It was a mix of rejection and acceptance but a lot more acceptance. I met some awesome people that day and was able to face my fears.I really want to do more volunteering, always great to give back any way we can.
DamilolaMay 4, 2017 at 15:49
Wow!! I’m reading this for the first time and the only organization that came to mind was that of Ufouma because I volunteered there briefly and I can say credible because I have a family friend who works there. This post has also prompted me to drop my donation sef because I’ve kept postponing. Please visit https://www.fairlifeafrica….