Help Save the Talibe Children of Senegal

Help Save the Talibe Children of Senegal

From Africa Codes

In Senegal, over 100,000 boys ages 5 through 15 beg on the streets for food and money. If they do not give money to their "guardians" they are whipped. We are building a boarding school to give them a better future.

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The exploitation of innocent and vulnerable children is one of the worst forms of human rights violations imaginable. Yet, sadly, this type of exploitation is all too common in Senegal, a predominantly Muslim country in Africa. Every day in Senegal’s urban cities, visitors observe heart-wrenching scenes of young boys (some as young as 4 years old) roaming the streets to beg for rice, bread, or a few coins. The food these children receive as charity (or as leftovers from the meals of strangers) is often the only sustenance they receive all day.

When these young boys finish their day of begging, they have no choice but to return to their guardians – religious teachers of the Koran known as marabouts. At the hands of unscrupulous marabouts, they are often beaten into submission, punished for trying to run away, and deprived of basic human rights. It is an entrenched system of child abuse and neglect that is hidden in plain sight. So why is this allowed to happen?   

The vulnerable children begging on the streets of Senegal are known as Talibés, a word that derives from the Arabic word, tālib, which means “student.” Talibés are predominantly boys between the ages of 5 and 15 who were orphaned or whose parents entrusted them to the care and guidance of a marabout. Often, these children come from rural villages and were sent away by their families to live in cities at religious institutions (daaras) that are controlled by influential marabouts. At these daaras, Talibés learn to recite and memorize the Koran. Yet, in addition to teaching their students Koranic verses, many marabouts make a living by exploiting the Talibé children who are often whipped with a degree of brutality that amounts to torture if they don’t give the marabout a daily quota of money at the end of each day. 

According to Human Rights Watch, there are presently more than 100,000 Talibés in Senegal who are forced by their marabouts to beg daily for money and food. Thousands of these children live in conditions of extreme squalor, denied sufficient food and medical care, and many are subject to physical and psychological abuse.

If nothing is done to end this systemic child abuse, it is only a matter of time before these abused and neglected Talibé children may grow up to become violent adults who abuse and neglect others. This is exactly what occurred with the Taliban children raised at Wahabi-Islamic schools called madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1990s. But, if we have the courage and wisdom to act now and learn from past mistakes, we can stop history from repeating itself!

The Open Door mission (La Porte Ouverte) and the non-profit Africa Codes, Inc., are philanthropical organizations in Senegal that aim to rescue the Talibé children by offering them an alternative from the abusive daraas and placing them in a safe, boarding school environment. At our boarding school, they will receive a modern education, with a special focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, while being illuminated with sound moral values and principles – a vital part of a wholesome upbringing.    

With your help, we can lead the Talibé children of Senegal away from the dark paths of beggary and abuse and provide them with shelter and a much brighter future. If you desire to help protect innocent children so that they can escape from oppressive abuse, please assist us in funding the construction of our boarding school to shine as a Beacon of Light in Senegal. Thank you all. 

For more information on the plight of the Talibé children in Senegal, please feel free to visit the following sites:

Serious Abuses Against Talibé Children in Senegal, 2017-2018 | HRW 

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