Sunday, 13 January 2008

Money for the poor

After the recent water crisis in the town of Nokia where thousands became ill The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is requiring all municipalities in Finland to thoroughly check their water treatment systems’ plumbing by march in order to avoid such disasters in the future. The town’s sewage water got mixed into the cleaned tap water by a vault that was not even thought to exist between the clean drinking water pipes and the waste water.

The cleaning up of the Nokia’s water system is still going on and many citizens have now claimed compensation from the town. A couple of deaths occurring at the time of the water contamination are to be scrutinized just to be on the safe side to check whether the sewage water might have caused the deaths or not.

There is said to be 130.000 poor families in Finland and I have wondered what that really means, who is counting it and how it is done. Does that mean that you are living on social welfare as you are below the existential minimum of means for daily survival or how is it decided? Sounds like an awful lot, to me at least, in a country that is proud to call itself a welfare state.

Anyway, as there is a charity fund raising every Xmas and it ends on Xmas Eve I have been wondering how the money will get to the needing in time to celebrate the holidays as it is said, or is a part saved from the previous year to the next year? The money apparently goes to the needing families as gift vouchers which I think is good, at least then you know it goes to what is was designated for, food and not booze from the liquor store.

Which is the main reason I never give away money to beggars, I could buy a Big Mac or something similar instead but those offers have so far always been turned down, and quite in a rude way as well.

The amount of beggars, and here I mean foreign and not the usual winos and homeless, has increased in Finland and there are talks about abolishing begging in the capital region. Well, as I have already noticed, begging is not very successful in this country to the great disappointment of many foreign beggars standing around in corners but why only prohibit begging in the capital region, shy not in the whole country when you’re at it? Makes it easily comprehensive, one general rule for the whole country.

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