Awareness, Help And An End
#StandForAlmajiri, The Almajiri Project, By ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Organization
- The Almajiri, Islamic scholarship migrant culture is an increasingly pressing concern in Northern Nigeria.
- There are an estimated 9-10 million Almajiris in the north at any given time.
- The practice involves sending children to other States and nations for Islamic studies.
- Most of the children do not receive a formal education.
- Many children are sent from an age of 6 years.
- Many children are sent out to beg for alms during the day when there are no classes.
- Almajiri children live in some of the shabbiest conditions imaginable.
- There are next to no jobs or opportunities for Almajiri adults in the increasingly challenging and competitive north.
- Borno, epicentre of Boko Haram has 1 million Almajiris, many of Borno’s Almajiris are from neighbouring nations.
Nigerian is listed among nations with highest out of school Almajiri children (about 10million) is currently bedevilled with security challenges posed by Boko Haram terrorists. Gullible youths who have been largely abandoned by society and are not home raised are a known pool for recruits for banditry and terrorism. The Almajiri system apart from depriving Nigerian children and constantly being in violation of the Child’s rights act is a most pressing concern in today’s Nigeria with the challenge of radicalism and terrorism.
The Almajiri system may be said to have outlived its usefulness. Reforms with “Almajiri schools” have not had a meaningful impact on the culture. A system entwined in native culture, we are engaging in a comprehensive project to explore its cultural ties and harness thoughts and positions from lead figures that can help bring an end to the prevalent abuse of children through prevalent Almajiri education setups; either by committed regulation or suspension of the system.
It is time to #StandForAlmajiri
We believe it is time to end this.
The Almajiri Project Has Been Established To this End
PRESS RELEASE; September 26th 2015
The ENDS socio-political non governmental organization hosted a Sallah Eid Kabir party for about 100 Almajiri children in Nasarawa state, Nigeria Friday.
A ram was killed and cooked for the wanderer kids and food and drink served to them at three different ‘schools.’
Mohammed Sabo Keana, coordinating the project observed that otherwise the children had no festive celebration plans scheduled and had only sadly been engaged in their routine alms begging for Sallah as has been the unbelievable case over the years.
The Mualims (teachers) at the schools thanked ENDS for the humanity, stating that this was the first time the children were ever being recognized and hosted to a big Eid party.
The gesture was however not the first time ENDS would feed the Almajiri for Sallah. During the small Sallah, Eid al-Fitr in July this year, as part of the #StandForAlmajiri project, the ENDS coordinator, Mohammed Keana had similarly fed about 30 Almajiri students at a school in Nasarawa who were likewise thankful and commended the action as a first ever.
Over 10 million Nigerian children are out of formal education, typically sent off by their parents as Almajiri to beg for a living and to pay for thier Islamic education. This in violation of global regulations. Many permanently lose connection with their families and are brought up under the worst conditions of existence imaginable.
The #StandForAlmajiri “Almajiri project” has been setup to address and correct the Almajiri boys abandonment and condemned-to-destitution social crisis.
Indeed the Almajiri crisis is perhaps the most monumental social and humanitarian tragedy in current times and one with very dangerous and deadly consequences as Nigeria is well aware.
The #StandForAlmajiri project entails recognition and restoration for Almajiri-child victims, social awareness campaigns including documentaries (in production) and the consultation of families, traditional and political leaders towards formally protecting, repatriating current Almajirinci and bringing a gradual end to the operation of child labour schools.
Speaking to ENDS about the Almajiri saga and Stand Up Almajiri project, Nigerian Human rights commission boss, Professor Chidi Odinakulu Said, “The Almajiris are not looked after. They are not documented; they are subjected to substance abuse. Some die without being acknowledged. Some die being trafficked for ritual purposes. It is a very destructive path for any child to get caught-up in. It’s undignified, it’s inhumane and nobody should be subjected to that kind of life. It violates everything that children are entitled to. We can end it; and we have the duty to end it in our life time,” in a recording that is part of the project documentary.
Several parents, leaders of thought and Islamic scholars have also contributed their recorded words to the project describing the urgent need to address the Almajiri child abandonment crisis.
We call on all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria and children of the world to #StandForAlmajiri today! They deserve a better life!