'If Senegal's Election Candidates Care, They'll Protect Talibé'

Not only are tens of thousands of talibés in Senegal forced to beg daily for food or money by their Quranic teachers (marabouts), putting them at risk in the streets, but many also suffer from physical abuse. Candidates for Senegal's upcoming presidential election should keep in mind that talibé children are suffering and dying - both in the streets and in their still-unregulated daaras, writes Lauren Seibert, an Africa research fellow at Human Rights Watch.

The scene of an accident in Louga, Senegal, January 13, 2019, in which a motorcycle hit a talibé child in the streets. Every morning, his Quranic teacher sent him and the other talibés out begging for 250 francs CFA (US $0.40), according to another child from the same Quranic school.

A talibé child reveals his untreated hand injury, holding a begging bowl in his other hand. The child attended the same Quranic school in Louga as the victim of the January 13 motorcycle accident, reporting that the Quranic teacher required the children to beg for 250 CFA (US $0.40) each day.

In this traditional Quranic school (daara) in Louga, Senegal, a begging bowl, tablets with Quranic verses, and scattered blankets fill the room where talibé children sleep at night, on the sand, without protection from malaria-carrying mosquitos. A child from this daara was hit by a motorcycle in the streets on January 13, during the hours when he and the other talibés were out begging.

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