In Senegal, exploitation and abuse affects some 50,000 young street beggars known as the Talibé. The Talibé are young boys who have been sent by their families to religious schools, where they are taught the principals and practices of Islam, by teachers known as the Marabout. Many of the children come from poor families who are convinced that their children will have a better future under the Marabout's care.
The cultural tradition of sending children to Koranic schools is an honored one in Senegal, but it has been infiltrated by criminals, and ruined by greed.
Children in Senegal's worst Koranic schools often live in unconscionable conditions in "daaras," without access to running water or rudimentary hygiene, Many are forced by the Marabout to beg for their food and for money on the streets of Senegal for 6 to 10 hours each day, citing it as part of their religious learning.
Plan, an independent child development agency, is working as a partner in the USAID-funded Basic Education Project. This project supports the introduction of a formal education cycle and better learning conditions into daaras in Louga and Dakar.Watch Plan's video about the talibé for a deeper perspective of the issue: youtu.be/H7RHOXkIAz0.