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Project on Forced child begging of talibés in Senegal

Anti-Slavery has been working with two local organisations called TOSTAN and RADDHO to end the forced child begging of Talibé children in Senegal.

Talibés are boys studying in Qur’anic schools called ‘daaras’, often forced to beg to bring back money for their Marabouts (Qur’anic teachers) alongside learning the Koran. 

Our partners TOSTAN have been working with local communities in specially designed programmes to raise awareness among families about the risks to their children of sending them away to Marabouts, and the need to protect Talibé in their own areas.

Our project has engaged over 300 Qur’anic teachers, who as a result have become more aware of the need to improve and protect the lives of Talibés. Most of them now support the modernisation of their daaras, and community advocacy has influenced local governments to allocate funds to support that process.

We have also introduced a system where Talibés are being 'sponsored' by local families in all the project areas. Over 25,000 children were “adopted”, providing them items such as soap, sleeping mats and mosquito nets.

As a result, begging has significantly decreased in the communities where our project was implemented.

On the national level, we have worked alongside RADDHO to lobby senior politicians, ministries and Senegal’s influential religious leaders to develop a law which will provide the basis for state regulation of daaras, the introduction of the state curriculum to all daaras, sanctions against unsafe and abusive environments and, above all, the prohibition of begging. The draft Bill is waiting to be presented before Parliament, and the religious leaders are now all broadly supportive of the proposed legislation.

Under pressure from campaigners, the Government of Senegal has launched a £12.5m programme for Daara modernisation in order to end child begging.

While advocating for a new law is in itself a great success, now further work is essential to ensure that the law is passed and the scheme is effectively implemented.

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