It has been a recurrent discussion in the country that we need to eradicate the phenomenon of street children in Senegal. Discussions have been involving the Government, NGOs, funders and spiritual leaders. Over the past 15 years, several atempts left the problem unshakable.
As some of you may know, to Moslem clerics in Senegal, sending children to beg in the streets is part of their spiritual training. In the past, these children “of God” had to do this because they were not involved in the business sector to make a living. Secondly, the practice was seen as a school of humility. Thirdly, the society sees the activity as a way of taking care of their future spiritual leaders, also a way of serving God.
With time, some of these reasons changed, others remained. Also the practice turned more to become a way of taking care of the spiritual leader instead of the children themselves. Then, several individuals who are not even Moslem clerics decided to rush into this golden mine.
In July 2016, after the close of the Ramadan, the Government relaunched the debates with Moslem leaders. “For the protection of children’s rights and that of vulnerable groups, I gave instruction for the withdrawal of children from the streets,” the head of State said. To certain sources, this decision is not a coincidence of the calendar when we know that the American Government recently published its annual report on human trade, report in which Senegal was not well positioned.
Finally the two groups came to an agreement to stop this form of child exploitation starting from the area of Dakar the capital city until Mbao, a suburb. The Government would make efforts to invest in Daaras (madrasas or Islamic basic schools) to modernize them so as to give a kind of formal education to the children.
Our Ministry Partner is not directly concerned about the decision, because they are not serving within the eradication pilot region. He remains eager to continue serving these children by making a difference in their lives through the power of God’s Kingdom.