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Fooled By Child Beggars In Morocco (Personal experience)

begging hands

Child beggars are not an uncommon sight in Morocco.

Although you might feel sorry for them, many of them are not genuine.

In most cases, they were taught to beg by their parents or relatives.

Unfortunately, to them, that’s their job and their way of living.

They use children because they’re the ones that are more likely to evoke sympathy and make you reach for your pockets.

Some of them are not even poor at all.

How we got scammed by two beggar girls

Years ago, when we lived in Kenitra, two girls came to our front door.

We had never seen them in the area before. They looked like they could be around 9 and 11.

They introduced themselves as sisters, and got our full attention when they claimed they were neighbours of an acquaintance at the souq (marketplace).

The name of the said acquaintance was Zahra, and we used to frequent her stall. She was always kind to my mum and sold us good quality vegetables at great prices.

So when they said they know Zahra, we became willing to listen what they had to say.

The older of the two was the talkative one. She told us their names, and claimed they lived in a neighbouring town.

She claimed their poor mother had one of her legs amputated and that their family was starving.

She went on and on about how they much they needed help. We ended up giving them some money, and some stuff we thought might be helpful to them.

A few days after, they came back. A bit of a surprise, but they didn’t come to ask for more help this time.

Instead, they gave us a heavy bag of tomatoes, and thanked us for helping them last time. We assumed they grew tomatoes, and thought it was nice of them.

It might have been a day or two, or maybe even a week, but they came back again.

The older one started going on again. She went on how much their situation had gotten worse and that they needed help really badly.

We started growing suspicious at that point, and was wondering if they could be lying.

We found out they were lying

The next day, we decided to ask Zahra while out shopping. When we asked Zahra if she knew any two sisters by the names of such and such, she looked really confused and then said she didn’t know any sisters with those names.

We put two and two together, and realised we were fooled.

Those two girls probably observed our interactions with Zahra, knew about how my family used to give her charity, and decided to follow us and find out where we lived to scam us into giving them money.

Lo and behold after our upsetting discovery, they decided to show up again.

And this time, my mum and I were ready for them. We scolded them at the door.

We told them how we asked Zahra, and that she didn’t know them, and how dared they lie to us.

The older one went frantic, and swore by Allah that they were telling the truth.

“Aunty, please. Zahra is a stingy woman, and she never help us even though we’re neighbours. She’s lying and she just wants to keep everything to herself. By Allah, I’m telling the truth. My mother can’t walk but I’ll drag here here tomorrow and show you her missing leg. I’ll prove to you we’re not lying. I’ll even kiss your feet right now!”

She then insisted on kissing my mother’s feet. We were so weirded out and didn’t know how to react at that.

But my mum and I were upset to hear Zahra being spoken about in that manner, and told them to never come back again.

They left that day, promising they’d bring their amputee mother.

And… they never returned.

The aftermath

Some time passed, and one day we saw them at the marketplace.

Came to find out, they were not even sisters. Just some girls who decided to team up to beg.

We even saw one of their mothers. And she wasn’t disabled in any way. She had both healthy legs attached…

We might have approached her, if my memory serves me correctly.

We were met with a rude initial reaction, so we decided it wasn’t worth it to tell on their children if their parent was just as bad and might even be part of it.

We heard the mother of the younger one call her name. Even the names they gave us were fake.

It’s hard to tell if the two girls came up with the wicked plot on their own, or if it was their parents who put them up to it.

Either way, the experience was so distasteful. To think that children that young could be so wicked and deceitful.

And the girls even invested in their scheme by giving us that bag of tomatoes.

Should you give money to child beggars in morocco?

Although many beggars lie, like those two girls, some might even be in desperate need of help.

As Muslims, our deeds are judged by intentions. Even if we were lied to, we’re still rewarded for giving them charity.

However, personally, unless I know for sure that they’re actually poor and needy I tend not to give.

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, we’re conditioning them that that behaviour is okay by rewarding them for it.

Secondly, once you give them once they won’t stop.

It can be problematic if they know where you live or they hang out often in a marketplace or a place you frequent.

I’ll tell you this now, they can be really pushy.

In a busier area (most commonly touristic places), you give one and you’ll get swarmed by all the children that are there.

Rather than giving children who beg, I rather support children who are not begging and are trying to earn money through honest means.

In Morocco, you’ll see some children in the marketplace trying to sell, too. I’ve seen a boy who sold herbs, some who sold popcorns, some who sold plastic bags for shopping.

You might be better off supporting these children and their families by doing business with them, and tipping them when you can.

How Should You deal with child beggars in morocco?

We can’t always know the true situation of a person.

Although they can be really pushy, we should NEVER treat them unkindly.

As harsh as it sounds, we learnt that the best way to deal with them is to ignore them.

This is after politely declining and they’re still following you around.

If they happen to stop you, trying to get you to hand out money with sad stories, you can use these phrases / duas to end the interaction:

Allah yasahhal.” May Allah make (your situation) easy.

Allah yasa’dk.” May Allah help you.

Smile, put your hand on your heart, and walk away.

Have you had any similar experience?


2 thoughts on “Fooled By Child Beggars In Morocco (Personal experience)”

  1. Interesting read! I have many experiences with beggars in morocco and most left a distasteful memory. Definitely agree on supporting children who are not begging and are trying to earn money through honest means.

    1. Jazaakallaahu khayr for stopping by! And yes, I’d love to know what motivated the children to take on different paths: one decides to beg, but the other decides to earn it with honesty.

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