#childcare #wecan #volunteeringafrica #sufferingchlidrenafrica #lumucommunitybasedorganisation Together though Lumu Community Based Organisation we can support suffering children in Africa. The youths in Senegal are supposed to be studying Islam, But many are begging in the streets

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Ahmadou Cisse rises from his stained, coil-ridden mattress shared with four other youths on a rooftop at about 5 a.m. each day.

The 14-year-old boy walks six miles from the suburbs of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, weaving among traffic and tapping on car windows in the hopes of receiving spare coins or food. He must beg to survive.

“I do not feel safe doing this,” Ahmadou said recently.

The skeleton-thin youth is among tens of thousands of children who line the dusty streets of Senegal pleading for food or money with old tin cans and buckets in hand, according to estimates by UNICEF.

Many of the youths, like Ahmadou, are experiencing what some families consider a traditional Quranic education in which children as young as 2 are sent to religious schools called daarasto memorize Islamic scripture and learn humility. The country is about 95% Muslim.

But a stubborn problem keeping youths at risk involves some teachers known as marabouts forcing youths to fund the destitute daaras through begging, and, at times, resorting to beatings if quotas are not met, according to government officials and human rights agencies. The youths, or talibes, often sleep in crumbling buildings, on roadsides or in shopfronts.

The government has tried to remove children from the streets and protect them from mistreatment — some youths have died from beatings or experienced other tragedies — but its efforts have suffered from insufficient resources, lack of coordination and other problems, Human Rights Watch and others have said.

“Sometimes my marabout will take what I collect and sell it,” said Ahmadou, who comes from a small village in Gambia and has not seen his family for years. “One time when I didn’t bring back enough money he whipped me so hard I couldn’t lie down properly for a week.”

Despite the many problems, officials and activists say that some daaras are honest, legitimate and free from abuse, and some pupils become marabouts or respected imams. The schools, whose roots go back hundreds of years, are often held in high esteem, and leaders have graduated from them.

For those struggling to care for children, daaras provide a free education. The average household in Senegal contains nine people, the largest in the world, according to the U.N., and many people suffer from poverty.

A report by Human Rights Watch expected to be released this month increases its estimate of talibes in Senegal from 50,000 to 100,000 out of a population of 16 million. The capital, Dakar, has at least 30,000 talibes, Saint-Louis has 14,000, and other cities including Thies, Touba and Kaolack have some as well.

Some marabout teachers are trafficking children from countries across West Africa such as Guinea, Mali and Gambia, according to the report’s author, Lauren Seibert. Thousands of children exist as modern-day slaves, vulnerable to physical abuse and neglect. The U.N. estimates that child begging earns $8 million per year for marabouts in Dakar alone; nationwide figures are unknown.

“Exploitation is rife, and some of these schools are so bad that talibes haven’t even memorized the Quran after seven years,” Seibert said. “Some are shackled and beaten regularly. We need regulation of the daaras and for abusive schools to be shut down and held to account.”

Several nonprofit organizations said sexual abuse is endemic within the system. Often perpetrators are elder talibes, but sometimes it can be outsiders.

Issa Kouyate, the president of a charity called Maison de la Gare in the northern city of Saint-Louis, said he first saw one of Senegal’s street children being raped in 2009. A middle-aged man fled as he approached, leaving a 10-year-old boy collapsed and crying.

“He was completely naked outside the bus station, trousers around his ankles,” Kouyate said. “It happens every night that these little boys are sexually abused.”

Alassane Diagne, a project coordinator for Dakar-based Empire des Enfants, a center that provides healthcare and education for up to 90 street children at a time, said malnutrition, dehydration and malaria are also common.

“The children who come to us are often sexually abused, have suffered violence and have psychological problems,” Diagne said.

Abdul Aziz Bah, a marabout based in the Keur Massar suburb of Dakar who is responsible for 100 children, condemned the abusive teachers as charlatans.

“Talibes are a Senegalese tradition, but there are some who exploit the children,” he said, amid a racket of Quranic recitation from pupils in the background. “They are different from daaras. They are fake daaras.”

Some activists and other observers said the government has failed to effectively combat the exploitation tied to talibes.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has condemned the “very low rate of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of those responsible for trafficking, forced begging, child prostitution or forced child labor” in Senegal.

In 2005, the Senegalese government passed a law prohibiting forced begging, which if violated could result in up to five years in prison. It was implemented in 2010 when seven marabouts were convicted. They received six-month suspended sentences and a $171 fine each. None went to prison.

In 2016, the government ordered the removal of children from the streets, and around 500 in Dakar have been placed in transit centers and returned to their parents. But there were no accompanying investigations or prosecutions.

A draft law to set standards and regulations for daaras was approved by the country’s Council of Ministers in June 2018. The Assn. of Senegalese Jurists called for the immediate adoption of the draft law “to protect children” this year in an open letter ahead of elections, which resulted in President Macky Sall winning a second term, but there has been no move in the National Assembly to pass it.

“We are doing everything that we can to protect these children,” said Alioune Sarr, head of child protection in the Senegalese government.

Children’s centers and social services offices are overwhelmed and receive minimal resources, he said. As a result, the care and legal assistance the children desperately need is not provided.

“It’s a human catastrophe,” said Souleymane Diagne, a social worker in Dakar’s Medina neighborhood.

 

#childcare #volunteer #africanchild #hungerinafrica #lumucommunitybasedorganisation Does a child die of hunger every 10 seconda? Africa Children Africa Children in Hunger Africa News Africa Youth

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Every 15 seconds a child dies of hunger, says a campaign by charities urging G8 leaders to pledge more aid for the world’s poorest families – or every 10 seconds, according to the latest version of the slogan. But does this paint an accurate picture?

There is enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food, says the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign.

“In every minute of every day, four children die of hunger,” intones the comedian Eddie Izzard in one of If’s promotional videos, before the 15-second figure was updated to 10 seconds on 6 June.

The stat is a variation on another, used seven years ago in the Make Poverty History campaign – when a host of celebrities from the world of music, cinema and fashion appeared on a video clicking their fingers at regular intervals. Then the message was that a child dies unnecessarily as a result of extreme poverty every three seconds.

Stats about deaths occurring every few seconds have been around for years.

This latest, the 10-second one, is based on a figure from a very reputable source – The Lancet, an internationally renowned journal which recently published a paper saying that more than three million children died of undernutrition in 2011.

To get their attention-grabbing statistic, the If campaign managers have divided the number of seconds in a year by that number – three million.

It resonates with people more than the three million figure itself, according to If spokesman Jack Lundie.

“Large figures are notoriously difficult to visualise and imagine, especially when you get into millions,” he says.

“Also we want to focus on the individual, and these expressions help to humanise a problem. So we need a short, accessible phrase that in a short period of time will convey both the emotional impact of the problem that we’re addressing, but also give that sense of scale and urgency that will precipitate some kind of action.”

But another major group that tackles food problems around the world, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), now disapproves of this tactic.

“There’s a real temptation to use those kinds of statistics because they really do grab the headlines – you can’t ignore that because it’s such a horrifying image,” says Jane Howard, from the WFP.

But, she says, it is “a bit misleading”.

The WFP itself once used to claim that a child died of hunger every six seconds, but stopped using this slogan around 2008.

The numbers can change from year to year, Howard points out, depending on the latest research, “and it gets very confusing because the old figures end up lying around on the internet”.

And more importantly, she argues, “the science is actually saying something quite different”.

So what is the science saying? Well, if, to you, the claim that one child is dying every 10 seconds because of hunger conjures up images of starving children, you might be surprised.

In most cases, that’s not what’s happening.

“There are certainly extreme circumstances where children starve to death – and I’m thinking of the recent famine in parts of Somalia,” Howard says.

“But the truth is that the vast majority of those numbers that we’re talking about, are children who, because they haven’t had the right nutrition in the very earliest parts of their lives, are really very susceptible to infectious diseases, like measles.

“A child that’s had good nutrition would just shrug it off, but for a child that’s really fragile and has a compromised immune system it becomes really life threatening.”

The If campaign highlights an important issue, but is it wrong to use the word “hunger” if it might inaccurately suggest children are starving to death?

“I could understand if members of the public made that inference, and that would be mistaken,” Lundie says. “We’re not saying that children in this particular instance are starving to death, and we explain exactly how it works. But I think the term ‘hunger’ is something that people relate to.”

The fact that poor nutrition is identified as an underlying cause of death means that there’s also some double counting going on. When you hear that one child dies every few seconds from water-related diseases, for example- or from poverty – some of these children will be the same ones that are said to be dying every few seconds from hunger.

Another surprise is to discover who these children are and that they are often not even, as the adverts sometimes put it, “going to bed hungry”.

Most of the nutrition-related deaths are in countries that are not suffering from famine or conflict, according to Professor Robert Black of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States, who calculated the three million figure that the 10-seconds statistic is based on.

“These are not the poorest countries in the world. They are countries such as India or Nigeria or many other countries in Asia or Africa that really could do better – that have the resources to feed children within the country.

“Certainly the poorest have the greatest problems with undernutrition, but even then there might be sufficient food to feed children. The difficulty is achieving a high enough quality diet – a diet that is dominated by cereals or starches would not be a high enough quality diet to achieve the nutrition that’s needed in the first two years of life.”

In most cases, the problem could be resolved through nutrition education, Black says.

In some cultures, women don’t get to eat the best food in the household, which can mean children are born underweight. Milk and meat may also be avoided for cultural reasons, as they are in parts of India for example. And sometimes it’s just not fully appreciated how important fruit and vegetables are.

A quarter of the deaths can be attributed to inadequate breast-feeding, Professor Black estimates, -with many families not realising that, up to six months of age, babies need to be exclusively fed on breast milk for the nutrients it provides, but also because it protects them from exposure to contaminated food.

So there’s a much more complicated picture than the headline statistic – that one child dies every 10 seconds because of hunger – suggests.

But you have to simplify a message if you are to get people’s attention, according to Jack Lundie.

“Yes, it may be that in what we would call our top-line messaging you don’t get all the information about the entire problem, but I don’t think it would be realistic to expect that to happen from a very short piece of communication.

“In terms of creating a conversation in which people can be informed, you first have to get their attention – their emotional attention. People are very busy so you need an instantly accessible understanding to open a conversation.”

Poor nutrition is a serious problem – the three million children who are thought to have died because of it in 2011 represent almost half of all infant deaths. But there are signs of progress.

“There’s been a decrease in the number of excess deaths – not a very large decrease – but still some improvement since we last studied this [in 2008], and the attention given to these issues of nutrition in low- and middle-income countries has really increased remarkably in the last five years,” says Prof Black.

“I’m very optimistic that the world is now paying attention to the problems and will find the solutions.”