Seeds of Hope

IMG_4129.JPGLocation: Diamaguene, Keur Massar,Medina, Rufisque

 Talibes are young boys between the ages of 3 to 16 years entrusted to religious teachers by their parents to learn the Islamic doctrine. Historically, Quranic teachers were responsible for instilling faith and virtue in the children; making Talibes beg was seen as a way to teach them charity and humility. Now Talibes are forced to be on the streets in order in order to survive and put money in their teachers’ pocket, as they do not receive any government aid. Some Talibes are trafficked from other countries or regions of Senegal to be forced to beg, they suffer all forms of abuse (physical, sexual and sometime even face death) in and outside of these Daaras, and unfortunately, too often, society and the government stands by and casually watches. There are currently Talibes throughout Islamic West African countries; But HRW reports that there are over 50,000 Talibes in Senegal.

Seeds of Hope is a program dedicated to restoring and advocating for the rights of the Talibes. We will be creating a reformed Daara system in order to improve the living conditions of these children. Within this system, each Daara will be held accountable and adhere to a modern- boarding school system. We will provide them with their basic needs such as mats, shoes, clothes, health check ups, hygiene products and much more. The ultimate goal is to dismantle and eradicate the Talibes begging system forcing them to be on the streets by establishing an income generating business in order to become self sufficient. Due to the cultural norm in Senegal, we often forget that these Talibes that we come across are just children who often than not face a harsh reality. Unlike the other projects, the Talibes Project will not be enrolled to a three-year program due to the intricacy of this system, religious ties and deep-rooted government culture.

We will be implementing our “Micro-jardin Business Program” which will enable each Daara to be economically sustainable which in turn helps eliminate the “begging” culture these children are subjected to. This business will allow each Daara to have a vegetable farm, where they will grow vegetables for their Daara as well sell to the nearest market in order to generate income. This will create a food system that fights poverty, promote economic growth and increase food security.