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Revealed: Street beggars who mint fortunes from Nairobians

By MERCY NJOKI August 16th, 2015 2 min read

They flock the town acting hungry, homeless and utterly desperate. You remember your mothers’ teaching to share with the needy and immediately get your hand in the pocket.

Apparently, you do not know that you have been conned. These people could be taking home a fatter pay slip than you.

Begging is a full time job that takes care of and pays the bills of many of the so-called “homeless” people you see on the streets of Nairobi.

Some of them have houses, have hired house girls and they occasionally go on ‘leave’.

Wangari Ruphus, a 51 years old street beggar is an example Nairobi’s “professional beggars.”

“On a good day I make Sh4,000 and on a bad day I take home atleast Sh1,200. Am able to pay rent, take care of my sisters’ children and pay the lady who takes care of them when am here,” says Wangari who has been in the business for 30 years now.


Wangari not only begs by herself but on several occasions “hires” little children from other street women at a fee to bait the unsuspecting pedestrians and motorists.

“When you have a baby, people tend to give more unlike when you are begging alone,” she says.

Another ‘rich street beggar’ said: “This is a well-paying job. Its only that we have to contend with county askaris who often harass us, beat us and even arrest us.”

And there is a whole lot of beggars on the streets who nurse gangrenous wounds that never heal.

They have developed their business acumen to greater heights by hiring people to stand and pretend that they are reading what is written in the manila papers in front of them to attract people to donate money.

Due to the competitive nature of the business in Nairobi, some of these beggars have been forced to relocated to the villages where they must be reaping big.

Well, giving is good but before you do, be sure that you are not being conned. After all, isn’t every coin you have hard earned?