Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal

by Maison de la Gare
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Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Katia and Mila with children in the classroom
Katia and Mila with children in the classroom

(This report was scheduled for publication in March 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. We are sharing it with you now as vaccinations are spreading and travel is beginning to appear possible again. Volunteers play a vital role in our support for the begging talibé street children, and we hope others will be inspired to follow Mila and Katia’s example.)

Mila Giraudon and Katia Figura share their experience volunteering together

My mother and I have been fortunate to travel around the world and to discover many cultures, at times seeing extreme poverty. We have wanted for a long time to get involved in a humanitarian project together, although we didn’t know what this could be or how we would do it. We therefore left home with the simple purpose of helping, of making ourselves useful within this organization.

Maison de la Gare gave us an experience far beyond our expectations, much more than a simple "project". We were able to get a feeling for the life of the talibés in all its facets … their everyday lives on the streets, their rudimentary needs (washing their clothes and themselves) and learning the rules of life in society, but also their physical and emotional wounds and their precarious living conditions in their daaras.

What a wonderful feeling to see them smile and to make them forget, if only for a moment, their lives on the streets, through creative play activities, songs and lessons in French or mathematics.

My mother (a mother of two) and I (a 17-year-old high school student) lived this experience differently ... but we shared it fully, together.

We were very moved by these children who only ask to escape their difficult lives through their desire to learn, to discover, to create and to show their pride in their beautiful drawings and other creations.

On the last day of our stay Abdou, a child to whom I had taught notions of poetry, wrote me a very powerful poem. He announced to me that he had just been accepted in a high school in Saint Louis, the lifelong dream of this self-taught child. It was a moment of emotion and pride. I felt like I had contributed a little to a "better life" for a talibé child. Teaching children basic literacy and reintegrating them in society is one of the priority missions of volunteers and members of Maison de la Gare.

I will remember the day of my birthday as both unforgettable and overwhelming because, for the talibés, it is a day like any other. These young children stood in front of me, singing and dancing, but none of them understood the meaning of the word "birthday"; most do not even know their date of birth!

Carrying out a humanitarian project like this brought my mother and me a lot closer and enabled us to support each other during certain trying times. On the last day, we agreed to accompany Maison de la Gare’s night-rounds team. That night we needed each other to overcome the images of children sleeping on the ground in the unhealthy and dangerous bus terminal. Abandoned, often mistreated, they preferred to flee their daara or their family, and they found shelter for the night at Maison de la Gare. The next morning, everything is set in motion to find the children’s families and to understand what could have pushed them to put themselves in such danger.

During these few days shared with the talibés, we became aware of the fundamental role of NGOs like Maison de la Gare that work night and day for the well-being of these neglected children. Beyond what we were able to do ourselves, it is Maison de la Gare’s values and its people that will always remain etched in our memories.

Our host Mama Touty was truly a welcoming "mother"; heart in hand, she welcomed us as her children.

We were the first mother-daughter duo to live this unforgettable experience and we warmly thank Maison de la Gare and everyone who is a part of it.

Mila treats the foot wound of an older talibe
Mila treats the foot wound of an older talibe
Mila with her art class
Mila with her art class
Mila tutors Buaro, our karate leader
Mila tutors Buaro, our karate leader
Katia helps a talibe student
Katia helps a talibe student
Katia and Mila, very moved by a visit to a daara
Katia and Mila, very moved by a visit to a daara
Mila leading games in the courtyard of MDG center
Mila leading games in the courtyard of MDG center
A moment of celebration with MDG staff members
A moment of celebration with MDG staff members

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Talibé children are subjected to a brutal contemporary form of slavery

Except for 2019, Maison de la Gare has received financial support every year since 2013 from the United Nations Fund for the Struggle Against Contemporary Forms of Slavery. This fund requires detailed case studies of child “slaves”, and we have prepared 85 of these for them over the years.

We share with you here a sampling of these case studies, prepared by four of our extraordinary staff members. The boys’ names and locations of origin have been changed for their protection, and we are not including any photographs of them.

Ibrahima (6 years old)

Our nurse Awa Diallo reports that Ibrahima had been sent from his village to his daara in Saint Louis when he had just turned 4 years old. In his daara, his marabout did not provide clothing, food or any of the necessities of life, but instead forced him to beg every day for his food and a quota of money. Ibrahima suffered terribly from the conditions, from the absence of any contact with his family and indeed of any supportive or nurturing relationship in his life. His suffering was even worse when he became ill and he was not given any medical care.

Issa Kouyaté discovered Ibrahima in late 2019 during a visit to his daara, and he saw that the child was extremely sick. Issa brought him to the infirmary at Maison de la Gare’s center and entrusted him to Awa.   Seeing Ibrahima’s condition, Awa gave him a malaria test, and the result was positive. She took him to the hospital and stayed at his side throughout the day, while Issa contacted the boy’s marabout, who refused to come to the hospital. When Ibrahima was released from the hospital, Awa took him back to his daara with a mosquito net and the medications that had been prescribed, and she instructed the boy and his marabout in their use.

Ibrahima has now recovered, and he is participating regularly in Maison de la Gare’s sports and other programs. Awa follows up regularly in his daara, ensuring that the mosquito net is used properly, and that Ibrahima is taking his medications. Ibrahima’s marabout has become quite cooperative, and he has requested mosquito nets for the other boys in his daara. He now immediately sends boys who are sick to the infirmary.

Modou (12 years old) 

Lala Sène, a former member of Senegal’s women’s soccer team who is now our sports facilitator, reports that Modou was sent to his daara in Saint Louis from his home in the south of Senegal when he was just five years old. His daara is large, with over 100 talibés living in extremely unsanitary conditions. The children suffer regularly from infections and malaria is endemic. Modou, at the age of 12, is required to beg every day to pay his marabout an extremely high quota of 800 francs ($1.50 or 1.20 euros). He receives no food in his daara and must beg for this as well.

Modou has been coming regularly to Maison de la Gare’s center for over five years. He has become comfortable there, an oasis from his difficult life on the streets. Over the years, he has participated in French literacy classes, watched films and read books in the library, eaten the nourishing baguettes offered in the evenings and regularly showered and washed his clothes. However, Modou’s passion is soccer, and Lala has taken him under her wing, helping him to develop his skills and in general supporting him as he faces the unjust challenges of his life. He is an awesome goalie!

Conditions for the talibé children in Modou’s daara are appalling, and Issa Kouyaté has been working with his marabout to try to improve this. Maison de la Gare has installed toilets and a source of potable water, and Issa is making some progress with the marabout, helping him to appreciate the rights of the children and to improve their treatment. One consequence is that our teachers are now beginning to offer literacy classes for all of the children of this daara, on-site in the daara.

As for Modou, he will continue to participate with Lala in soccer matches, and to take advantage of the other programs in our center. When he is older, we will encourage him to join one of our apprenticeship programs, to learn a skill which will make it possible for him to support himself.

Omar (10 years old)

Amadou Bâ, one of our dedicated street educators, grew up himself as a begging talibé under the most difficult conditions. He reports here on this 10-year-old boy from a village in central Senegal who was sent by his parents to a Saint Louis daara because there was no school that he could attend in his home region.

Like the other children in his daara, Omar was forced to beg every day for his food and for a quota of money for his marabout. There are no hygiene facilities and no drinkable water in this daara, and little shelter. Omar was regularly beaten severely by his marabout when he was not able to produce the full amount of his quota.

Omar lived in his daara for three years before deciding that he could not take it anymore and that he would find a way to return home. He ran away and spent several days alone on the streets before Maison de la Gare’s night rounds team found him in the bus station. After Omar had had a chance to recuperate in our emergency shelter, Amadou gained his confidence and Omar explained to him why he had run away. He wanted to go to school and not be mistreated or forced to beg any more. Amadou spoke with Omar’s family and learned that there was no possibility of him being educated in his home village. So he discussed the situation with Omar’s marabout, who agreed that Omar could be registered in school and not be forced to beg. The marabout even assisted, with Omar’s parents, in obtaining a birth certificate for him, a prerequisite for being registered in school.

Since returning to his daara, Omar has been coming regularly to Maison de la Gare to wash, eat and learn in the literacy classes while he is waiting to start school. We will continue to support him for many years.

____________

Working with so many brutalized children is a very demanding task. We must acknowledge the exceptional skill and dedication of Amadou, Awa, Issa, Lala and of all the members of Maison de la Gare’s team, every minute of every day. The children have great difficulty establishing relationships of trust and will only confide in a person of their choice, who could be the cook or the president. Every staff member understands this, and that their first job is to welcome and listen to these innocent victims.

Nurse Awa Diallo
Nurse Awa Diallo
Issa Kouyate inspecting a Saint Louis daara
Issa Kouyate inspecting a Saint Louis daara
Awa in the pharmacy of our infirmary
Awa in the pharmacy of our infirmary
Lala Sene, sports program coordinator
Lala Sene, sports program coordinator
Lala organizing a soccer team in our center
Lala organizing a soccer team in our center
Street educator Amadou Ba
Street educator Amadou Ba

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Buaro with his karate class at Maison de la Gare
Buaro with his karate class at Maison de la Gare

Robbie describes the magic of karate for the talibés of Maison de la Gare

Maison de la Gare’s karate program began six years ago, the brainchild of a young Canadian volunteer and newly minted black belt, Robbie Hughes. Karate was Robbie’s passion, and he wanted to share it with the children of Maison de la Gare when he visited to volunteer with his family. 

Over the years Robbie has returned many times to Maison de la Gare, to train with the talibés, expand the karate program, and to identify and register talibé children who were developing a similar passion for karate and who were ready to advance their skills at the local dojo. Robbie has become a partner and close friend of Abduramane Buaró, a talibé youth who has led classes in Maison de la Gare’s center for the younger talibés since 2015. Buaró is passionate about karate and has himself earned a black belt, a remarkable achievement!

In Robbie’s words: “While the karate program at Maison de la Gare offers strength and agility development and teaches kids important self-defense skills, its main objective is to promote and facilitate the discovery of discipline, confidence, leadership and sportsmanship.

In my opinion, the greatest accomplishment of this program at Maison de la Gare is the ongoing nurturing of discipline. Discipline isn’t only important to karate; it is an essential factor to learning how to progress regardless of the challenges we face and to eventually leading a productive and fulfilling life no matter who you are or where you live.

Discipline unlocks an individual’s ability to be their best self. It teaches how to get things done, and how to have the courage to move forward when life is hard. Sometimes there are days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed at 6:00 am to do a workout, or going to work after a full day of classes. But years of karate training and the example of my senseis give me the discipline to do what needs to be done. We all have hills we need to climb from time to time. But the talibés have mountains to climb each and every day. They leave their daaras before the sun rises. They spend hours each day begging on their own on the streets. They do not have parents or teachers to encourage or lead them and they never have enough to eat. They return to their daaras in the dark with grumbling stomachs, not to beds, loving parents and a hot meal, but to a cold floor and a hand held out to receive their begging quotas. Mountains. Every day.

When you give someone the opportunity to pursue and learn difficult things, they can learn something unique about themselves from accomplishment as well as failure. They can learn that they have the ability inside of themselves to overcome the hard and seemingly impossible challenges in life. The talibés face such challenges every day of their lives. Overcoming challenge and learning skills also gives a person the opportunity to become proud of themselves. As it has been for me, for many of Maison de la Gare’s karate kids martial arts has been the catalyst for a deeper realization of their individual ability, self-worth and understanding of the discipline needed to overcome life’s challenges.”

Your donations in support of Maison de la Gare and the karate program allow the talibés who have grown to love karate the ability to continue to practice the sport and to continue to grow in their independence, confidence, and skill. They offer the gift of martial arts to more talibés, and give them more opportunities to feel seen and supported by the world. More opportunity to learn confidence and discipline. And, more opportunity for them to shine and be celebrated as individuals, to become heroes and role models to other talibé children.

Robbie leading a class in the MDG center
Robbie leading a class in the MDG center
Tournament winner Sedou
Tournament winner Sedou
Buaro with four aspiring students in MDG center
Buaro with four aspiring students in MDG center
Karateka wearing uniform from Canadian supporters
Karateka wearing uniform from Canadian supporters
Morning karate class in Maison de la Gare's center
Morning karate class in Maison de la Gare's center

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Issa Kouyaté reports on the rescue of 28 talibé boys abandoned in the street

At the height of the shut-down in Saint Louis due to Covid-19, Maison de la Gare rescued talibé children from the street in the Leona district of the city.   These children originated from the town of Kaffrine in central Senegal and from a neighboring village.

The daara involved in this story has always been a source of concern because of the harsh education system used with its talibés. Many runaways whom we have recovered from the streets in recent years have come from this daara. As a result, the prefect of Saint Louis ordered that the daara be closed. The marabout responded by moving to another location in the same neighborhood.

The new location that the marabout found was in a building under construction. He rented this half-finished house, and the children themselves paid the rent from the proceeds of their begging. The walls were ready, but there were no windows or doors and no electricity or water. The house was deteriorating day by day and the landlord gave an ultimatum to the marabout to find another place, because he wanted to finish the construction.

After six months, the owner forced the children out. He barricaded the house because the talibé children, now abandoned by their marabout, had no other place to stay and always returned, jumping over the fences to sleep there at night. The marabout had returned to Saloum in southern Senegal to tend to his crops there, leaving the children to their own devices. They relied on neighbors to give them leftover food.

It was at this point that a concerned neighbor called Maison de la Gare to inform us about this desperate situation and to urge us to come to the aid of these children. We went to the premises and, to our great surprise, recognized many children whom we had found on the streets in the past and had registered as runaways or as victims of abuse. We first called the marabout who told us that he was absent from the city and that the older talibés, the assistant marabouts, would take care of the situation.

However, with the risk of Covid-19 and the desperate situation of these children, we could not leave things as they were. We invited all the children to join us at our center. At the same time, we filed a complaint with the authorities, informing them that these children had been abandoned by their marabout.

Maison de la Gare decided to take care of the children until they could be returned to their families.  After the marabout had been charged by the authorities, we were granted a temporary custody order. 32 street children were entrusted to us and, of these, 28 were to be returned to their families. The four talibés who were not returned were sons of marabouts who did not want their children to return to the village. The 28 children spent 21 days living in our center before the court issued an order for their immediate return to their families.

Issa and our street educator Mamadou Gueye accompanied the children for the return trip, which turned out to be a 23-hour journey. This return trip was organized with the support of the Saint Louis public prosecutor, who took care of the security of the convoy and provided instructions for where each child was to be taken. They also contacted authorities in Kaffrine and the village for case-by-case follow-up.

The village chief welcomed the children, as the families had not travelled to meet them. All documents confirming transfer of responsibility for the children were stamped by this village chief. However, after we had returned to Saint Louis, we learned that the families had rejected allowing their children to remain in the village.

 

The marabout returned to the village about a month later and, with the parents’ consent, once again took charge of most of the returned children. He travelled back to Saint Louis with them, and the children returned to begging for him on the streets.

But all is not lost. The marabout now knows how far we can go to protect the children, to the extreme if we must. The prosecutor ordered that the former premises be closed, and this was done. The marabout has rented a new site where basic sanitary and safety restrictions will be respected. Also, we are now in regular, direct contact with the children of this daara, and they no longer feel desperate to run away. The marabout is following the measures ordered by the authorities for the children’s protection.

These children now understand what abuse is, and they know what they must do if they are abused.

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Rowan shares her understanding of this complex issue, after eight years involved with Maison de la Gare and the talibé children  

Across the globe and throughout history, certain vulnerable groups have been unfairly exploited. And their exploiters in positions of power have taken advantage of this and the law has turned a blind eye.

The Senegalese talibé system has its roots in the 14th century but it has evolved dramatically since about the 1960s, from a respected system of religious education and character building into a fraught system of exploitation. Today, predominantly rural families entrust their sons to urban-based Islamic teachers known as marabouts. However, instead of receiving the anticipated Islamic education, tens of thousands of these “talibé” children typically experience conditions of deprivation, extreme corporal punishment and being forced to beg for daily quotas of money as well as their own food for 8 to 10 hours a day.  The United Nations considers the talibé system today to be a form of modern slavery.

Marabouts

Marabouts are the principal perpetrators of talibé abuses. Some of them have recruitment systems that extend to villages in neighboring countries, escalating the talibé system to international child trafficking. Many marabouts force their talibés to beg for their own personal enrichment, but it was not always this way. 

The talibé system originated as one of the first formal systems of education in West Africa, based on a trust relationship in which marabouts were responsible to and supported by local populations. All talibés, whatever their origin or family wealth, practiced a moderate amount of begging, not to enrich the marabout but rather to teach them humility. Daaras were in the community or a nearby village where their proximity to home allowed talibés and their families to remain in close contact. Families made small financial contributions to the daara and children regularly returned home to eat, wash, clean their clothes, and to spend time with their families.

Just over half a century ago when drought worsened in Senegal, severe impoverishment resulted in rural villages. This induced many marabouts to move their daaras to relatively more prosperous cities. Rising poverty in the villages made it difficult for families to continue to financially support the marabouts and, after the transition to cities, parents ceased to play an active role in supporting their sons. This migration of daaras from rural villages has expanded to become thousands of daaras in cities across Senegal today, where marabouts use forced begging by the children as their primary means of support.

Civil Society

Civil society’s role is key to understanding why forced begging persists. Senegalese citizens contribute to condemning the talibé system to be a classic poverty trap. They coexist daily with the talibés and are often indifferent to their distress. Even worse, most citizens donate generously to talibé begging bowls but, unfortunately for the talibés, this generosity only feeds the system which exploits them.

Senegalese support of the talibé system is deeply rooted in the country’s religious and cultural history. Koranic schools have been a key symbol of Muslim identity in West Africa since the 14th century and marabouts, as the leaders of these schools, have an unusually strong influence. An emphasis on rote learning and Muslim duty reinforces individuals giving to the talibés less out of compassion than from societal expectations, without examining too closely who or what they are really giving to. Some of the abuses experienced by talibés in daaras are not considered as offensive to Senegalese society as they may be to international organizations that advocate for children’s rights. Further, some of the most serious abuses happen out of the public eye and are thus easy to overlook.

Civil society is a critical lever of potential change; if individuals stopped giving to the talibés, the system would quickly come to an end.

Other Actors

The state has had a dual role in perpetuating the talibé system: not enforcing forced-begging laws, and indirectly legitimizing the begging daara system as an educational system. Senegal’s penal code long ago criminalized forced child begging. However, only a handful of cases have been prosecuted in a landscape of thousands of daaras where children are forced to beg.  This governmental laxity reflects the political influence of the marabouts, the overwhelming scope of the problem, and scarce resources. Despite political rhetoric, enforcement of forced begging laws remains elusive. 

There are many in Senegalese society who call for change. Some civil society organizations, Maison de la Gare being a leader among them, work to educate people about the severity of the conditions faced by talibés. These organizations have had an important impact in improving the children’s living conditions and prospects for the future, and they advocate tirelessly for an end to the talibé begging system.

The international community is another actor that could play a stronger role in encouraging the state to change its behavior with respect to the talibé system. For example, by pressuring government leaders with respect to human rights for children and supporting the civil society organizations that work to end forced begging, such as Maison de la Gare.

Families of talibé children are important actors as well. If parents stopped sending their children to be talibés, the system would fall apart. However, the importance of Islamic education and the influence of marabouts are particularly powerful with rural and often uneducated parents. Furthermore, when there are no local schools, families have very few options if they want their children to receive an education, and the promise of an Islamic education in an urban daara is often the only option available. Finally, some parents are simply unaware of the severity of the conditions of deprivation, forced begging and abuse experienced by their children. 

 

The unintended consequences of parents sending their boys from rural villages to the cities are far reaching and severe for society, not just for the talibés. A visitor to many rural villages in Senegal that have sent boys to be talibés in the cities will observe a dramatically disproportionate number of girls. It is common in these villages for girls to marry as young as 13 or 14 to older men who already have other wives.  The lack of schools in rural villages not only encourages the talibé system but promotes polygamy, child marriage and female illiteracy.

Another distressing unintended consequence is the inability of talibés to become productive members of Senegalese society.  Issa Kouyaté, Maison de la Gare’s founder and president, has long understood this. His primary objective for Maison de la Gare, apart from ultimately ending forced begging in Senegal, is to provide means for talibé youth to learn to become successful and productive members of society. 

What can we do?

The trap that talibé children experience is a result of many complex factors. Marabouts, civil society, the talibés’ families, government, and the international community all are actors who play a role, either through action, or through lack of action that perpetuates the horrors of the talibé system. Influencing parents to keep their children at home by building schools in rural areas and encouraging daaras to return to their rural roots have significant potential, as does pressure and targeted aid from the international community.

We can also work to establish an effect collaboration between parents, marabouts, talibé children, civil society, and organizations like Maison de la Gare. Direct communication between all these stakeholders is essential if we are to achieve true protection for the children. Together, we can dismantle the illegal practices of the exploiters. Only such a collaboration can bring about real change for these thousands of abused children.

Importantly for our readers, donations made through grassroots organizations such as Maison de la Gare offer more than just hope. They offer the potential for real change.

_____________

Rowan Hughes first visited Maison de la Gare in 2012 at the age of 14. Since that time, she has made nine more trips to Saint Louis as a volunteer and is now completing a degree in International Development at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Rowan heading to school with talibe Arouna in 2014
Rowan heading to school with talibe Arouna in 2014
Talibe children in a Saint Louis daara
Talibe children in a Saint Louis daara
Literacy classes at Maison de la Gare
Literacy classes at Maison de la Gare
Happy moments at Maison de la Gare
Happy moments at Maison de la Gare

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Organization Information

Maison de la Gare

Location: Saint Louis - Senegal
Website:
Project Leader:
Rod LeRoy
Saint Louis, Saint-Louis Senegal
$158,723 raised of $169,500 goal
 
2,019 donations
$10,777 to go
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