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2017 (Narrative date)

Across Senegal, an estimated 50,000 boys living in traditional Quranic boarding schools, or daaras, are forced to beg for daily quotas of money, rice or sugar by their Quranic teachers, known as marabouts. Known as talibés, these children are sent by their parents to daaras to learn the holy Coran. Children in these daaras are often beaten, chained, bound, and subjected to other forms of physical or psychological abuse amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment. While in 2016 the government introduced a new programme to 'remove children from the streets', it has done little to reduce the alarming numbers of children subjected to exploitation, abuse and daily neglect.  


Ibrahima attended Quaranic school in Kaolack region where the marabout demanded a quota of 150-250 CFA, and subjected to beatings if the quota was not met.

Life at the daara was difficult, because they would hit you when you didn’t have the sum demanded. 

When they took us par quatre, they would hit us until we had marks and blood on our back. Sometimes we would be sick after. …When you’re injured you can rest for two days, but you have to go back out begging after that. …I left the daara because life was hard there. 


As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch