It doesn’t look like much, just a small brick building with a dirt floor and tin roof. But it’s a major step in ending child slavery in Senegal.
Residents of Hamdallaye have typically sent their children to boarding schools in the city to learn the Quran because there is no religious school in their isolated village. Unfortunately, some children never return because traffickers posing as religious teachers force children into street begging slavery instead.
No longer, for residents of Hamdallaye. Free the Slaves and our Senegalese partner organization have been educating villagers about the dangers of sending children far away from home. We recently bussed a delegation of village leaders to the city of Saint-Louis, where they saw firsthand how children are trapped in begging gangs in dangerous traffic on crowded streets.
It was an eye-opener. The village’s community child protection committee mobilized their neighbors to raise funds, hire an Islamic teacher and build their own school. Now, 37 children are learning the Quran in their home village, safe from harm. Villagers are sharing their idea of local religious education to avoid the risks of slavery with neighboring communities.
The Hamdallaye success story shows how educating and mobilizing vulnerable communities can be a game-changer in the fight against child trafficking. Learn more about the Aar Sunu Xaleyi (Protect Our Children) project on our Senegal webpage.