The Talib kids

En Portada shows the reality of thousands of kids living in daaras in Senegal. 

Many of them are exploited by their koranic teachers, forcing them to beg.


The Tailbs are students in daaras, the traditional Koranic schools.  In Senegalese cities, as Dakar, the capital, some of them have become real exploitation centers for kids, forced to beg for living.  They live under infrahuman conditions and far from their parents, who usually live in rural areas.  Only in Darkar area there are around 30,000 of these schools and around 50,000 in the whole country.

Parents usually hand their children to Marabouts, Koranic teachers, for their education and maintenance because they want their children to have an Islamic education, or simply because they cannot afford to upkeep them by themselves.  Many of them ignore that their children are forced to beg for hours and that they are battered if they return to the daara without the minimum amount of money required.  But sometimes, parents are also part of the system.  Kids can be even chained or tied.  Some kids prefer to escape and live in the streets.

We have visited several daaras and spoke to their Morabouts.  In one of them, we verified the dreadful conditions those kids are forced to live under.  We have also talked to some formers Talibs: Dan, Cheikh, Modou, Ibahim… All of them have confirmed physical abuse and the exploitation they went through.

Some experts on the subject, like the Sociologist Mamadou Wane or Mody G. Ndiaye, from the National Cell Against Human Trade, analyze the problem and they cannot dismiss the possibility those kids could be used by violent groups, even Jihadist terrorists

We have also visited some NGOs that try to help those kids and take them out of the streets, like Village Pilote or Empire des Enfants.  Senegalese government and society are aware of the exploitation of those children, but the lack of normative for daaras and the failure of political will and the fact those schools shelter behind Islam for their business make difficult to find a solution.  Child begging is forbidden but the talib kids are there, in full view of everyone.




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