Day 5: Garibou (Talibé) Boys of West Africa
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
In West Africa, there is a group called Garibou or Talibé boys who are victims of child exploitation. With historical roots as a method to train boys in Islamic values and memorization of the Qur’an, Garibou or Talibé boys are victims of child exploitation, trafficking and slavery. They are found in population centers of Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, or Guinea-Bissau.
The Garibou are boys sent by their parents for training in the Qur’an with a master or marabout. They are expected to memorize the entire Qur’an in Arabic by the age of 19, daily beg for food and money (quotas must be given to marabout) so that the virtues of patience, humility, suffering and good behavior can be developed, and work for farmers during the planting seasons.
If they fail to meet quota or memorize the Qur’an in Arabic, they face the threat of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse by other people. They are often hit by cars while begging for food and money. Serious or chronic illness are often untreated.
Child trafficking is also common. At least 100,000 children are affected by this phenomenon and governments are often powerless to stop this from happening.
The boys are deprived from their childhood and, if they escape their marabout, they often live on the street often against their own choice.
– Pray that Western Africa governments would enforce laws to protect the boys from various crimes.
– While formerly for educational purposes, the Qur’anic training system is about financial gain for greedy marabouts. Pray that justice will be served for those who are taking advantage of the boys or that their hearts would be convicted of the evil they have been involved in “in the name of Allah.”
– Pray for advocates who are providing a safe place where boys can receive shelter, medical care, nutrition, love and education, and also speaking out for the rights of those boys.
Sources: http://www.30daysprayer.com; http://www.irinnews.org/report/99809/scant-progress-senegal’s-talibé-problem; http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~ndiay22k/classweb/worldpolitics/images/2498115-3514718.jpg; https://www.hrw.org/news/2010/04/15/senegal-boys-many-quranic-schools-suffer-severe-abuse; http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2013/dec/26/fatal-fire-again-highlights-senegal-child-beggary/