It has almost become a normal feature, a cultural norm – children roaming the streets in certain parts of (mainly northern) Nigeria. Almajiri as the children are commonly referred to derives from the Arabic word Al-Mahaajirun, which literally means a learned scholar who propagates the peaceful message of Islam.
Regrettably, the Almajiri culture has since outlived its purpose and has become a breeding ground for child begging and in the extreme cases, potential materials for recruitment into terrorist groups. The pupils who were meant to be trained to become Islamic scholars have now had to struggle to cater for themselves, begging rather than learning under the watch and supervision of some semi-literate Quranic teachers or Mallams who themselves lacked the requisite financial and moral support. Hence, the system runs more as a means of survival rather than a way of life.
Deprived of a normal and descent upbringing, Almajiri children who are usually little boys between the ages of four and 15 may have been direct products of polygamous or broken homes or simply economic challenges in the family. They lack adequate family cover. The child or children is/are sent out to the streets under the guise of Almajiri, as soon as the family’s resources are overstretched.
The Almajiri grows up in the streets without the love, care and guidance of parents; his struggle for survival exposes him to abuse (homosexuality and pedophilia), used as a slave, brainwashed and recruited for anti-social activities and used for destructive and violent activities. This is the picture of the pitiful plight of an Almajiri child in Nigeria.
Less than five percent of the children were captured by the Federal Government’s programme, which was meant to remove the Almajiri off the streets.
the money realized from this fundraiser would be used to build schools to give this children the chance to get basic education and equal oportunity that they deserve.
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