Κυριακή, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2015

Stories of children forced to beg in Senegal

Anti-Slavery

Seydou, 15-years-old

Talibes boy waiting at the door of a daara
 
Seydou* is 15 years old and has lived in the daara for seven years. Recently one of his younger brothers came to join him. Seydou usually wakes up at 6am and spends the first hour of the day learning the Koran (*). Then, with an empty tin can, he goes from one house to another to beg for food for his breakfast. He returns to the daara at 9am, at which time the morning courses begin.

At 1pm Seydou goes to neighbouring houses to beg for his lunch, coming back to the daara for an hour or so to rest and eat. The afternoon classes begin at 3pm. At around 5pm every day, Seydou goes to collect water for the daara with other talibés. He then studies the Koran for another three hours, before going out at 8pm to beg for his dinner.

He comes back to the daara to study the Koran some more before bed time at around 10pm. He sleeps in a small hut with a straw roof alongside seven other children. Seydou says that if he doesn’t beg, he won’t eat, and if he doesn’t bring back enough money on two or three occasions, his Koranic master will beat him. He misses his parents and would rather be at home with them than in the daara. He says that he likes learning the Koran, but would also like to know some French so that he could read road signs.

* Name has been changed.


Daara Serigne Gaye, Modern Daaras

Talibe boy reading Koranic script
 
Daara Serigne Gaye is typical of the relatively few so-called “modern daaras” which already exist in Senegal today. It is located in Dakar, and like many modern daaras established prior to the Government’s daara modernisation programme, it is financed primarily by charitable contributions and fees paid by parents.

It was established in 2001 and offers both boys and girls schooling in the Koran, Arabic and French. There are currently 64 children at the daara, aged between six and 13 years old. About half of them board at the school with the remaining children returning home to their families every evening.

The children who board see their families about once a fortnight. The school provides three meals a day for the children. None of the children are sent out to beg.

Souleymane* is a boy of eight years old and has been in the daara for three years. He is happy there. His favourite lesson is studying the Koran. Above all, he likes the atmosphere, which is like “a family.” He enjoys a good relationship with the teachers: “they are understanding, polite, they help us to understand the lessons.” Demba* is 13 years old and returns home every day after school. His favourite thing about the daara is all the friends he has made there. He likes the teachers too, “because they respect us.” Both boys want to be policemen when they grow up.

* Name has been changed.
(*) Note of our blog: We are Orthodox Christians & we please all our brothers to find and read and the Gospel (New Testament), which writes life and teaching of Jesus Christ & the first Christians Saints.
The Orthodox Archdiocese of Conakry and Guinea is a diocese under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Its territory includes the parishes and missions located in the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Cape Verde. More here & here.

See also

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