Advertisement

A Tale of Two NGO Discourses: NGO Stories of Suffering Qur’anic School Children in Senegal

  • Sara E. LahtiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Children and Development book series (PSCD)

Abstract

Transnational actors have identified thousands of Qur’anic students throughout Senegal, West Africa, called taalibes, as a particularly “vulnerable” population of children, and have taken up the challenge to promote their well-being and human rights. These adult actors surrounding the taalibes tell diverging stories of the children’s suffering related to their street begging. Some frame the begging as child trafficking, where children are brought from rural to urban centers by their alleged religious instructors in order to profit from their forced begging and labor. Others frame taalibe begging as a religious tradition and a spiritually conditioning act, but one that has dangerously increased in scale due to rural poverty leading to mass urban migration. These two discourses present conflicting explanations of the problems as well as their potential solutions, yet they are often used interchangeably by actors as they rally support for their activities among local and international observers. To gain financial and political support for their operations, NGOs commodify taalibe suffering by articulating it within one of these two conflicting discourses, which I claim leads to popular and professional division on the issue and prolongs government inaction to assure basic rights for the taalibes on a national scale.

Keywords

NGOs Children’s rights Humanitarianism Childhoods Senegal Islamic education 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I received generous funding for this research from the Institute for International Education with a Fulbright U.S. student fellowship and from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council with a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. I offer many thanks to my dissertation supervisor at McGill University, Sandra Hyde, and committee members Ronald Niezen, Setrag Manoukian, and Lisa Stevenson. I also thank the personnel at ENDA-TM in Senegal and Mali, and the many people in Senegal and Mali who offered their time and insights to make this work possible.

References

  1. Adams, Vincanne. 2013. Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benthall, Jonathan. 2010. Disasters, Relief and the Media. Wantage: Sean Kingston Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Boltanski, Luc. 1999. Distant Suffering; Morality, Media and Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourgois, Philippe. 2003. In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Boyden, Jo. 2003. “The Moral Development of Child Soldiers: What Do Adults Have to Fear?” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 9 (4): 343–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyden, Jo, and Neil Howard. 2013. “Why Does Child Trafficking Policy Need to Be Reformed? The Moral Economy of Children’s Movement in Benin and Ethiopia.” Children’s Geographies 11 (3): 354–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Castle, Sarah, and Aisse Diarra. 2003. The International Migration of Young Malians: Tradition, Necessity or Rite of Passage? London: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. https://www.sarahcastle.co.uk/docs/Traffickingreport_final_October.pdf.
  8. Cheney, Kristen E. 2007. Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheney, Kristen E. 2010. “Deconstructing Childhood Vulnerability: An Introduction.” Childhood in Africa 2 (1): 4–7. https://www.ohio.edu/global/cis/african/upload/CAJ2010final.pdf.
  10. De Lange, Albertine. 2007. “Child Labour Migration and Trafficking in Rural Burkina Faso.” International Migration 45 (2): 147–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DelVecchio Good, Mary-Jo. 2001. “The Biotechnical Embrace.” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 25 (4): 395–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DelVecchio Good, Mary-Jo, Byron J. Good, and Jesse Grayman. 2010. “Complex Engagements: Responding to Violence in Postconflict Aceh.” In Contemporary States of Emergency, edited by Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi, 241–66. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  13. ENDA. 2003. Soutien aux Talibés/Garibous. Dakar: Action, ENDA-TM Jeunesse.Google Scholar
  14. Farmer, Paul. 2004. “An Anthropology of Structural Violence.” Current Anthropology 45 (3): 305–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hecht, Tobias. 1998. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Holland, Patricia. 2004. Picturing Childhood: The Myth of the Child in Popular Imagery. New York, NY: I.B. Taurus.Google Scholar
  17. Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2010. “Off the Backs of the Children: Forced Begging and Other Abuses against Talibés in Senegal. New York: Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/04/15/backs-children/forced-begging-and-other-abuses-against-talibes-senegal.
  18. Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2017. “I Still See the Talibés Begging: Government Program to Protect Talibé Children in Senegal Falls Short. New York: Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/07/11/i-still-see-talibes-begging/government-program-protect-talibe-children-senegal.
  19. Hyde, Sandra T. 2007. Eating Spring Rice: The Cultural Politics of AIDS in Southwest China. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  20. International Labour Organization (ILO). 2017. Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and Trends, 2012–2016. Geneva, Switzerland: ILO.Google Scholar
  21. James, Allison, and Alan Prout. 1997. Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood Contemporary Issues in the Sociological Study of Childhood. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kamara, Mamadou. 2010. “Rapport de l’Etude Sur Le Cadre Législatif et Réglementaire d’Installation et d’Intervention Des Organisations de La Société Civile Au Sénégal.” Dakar: Conseil des Organisations Non Gouvernementales d’Appui au Développement (CONGAD), April.Google Scholar
  23. Kleinman, Arthur, Veena Das, and Margaret M. Lock, eds. 1997. Social Suffering. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Lahti, Sara E. 2018. “The Limits of Shock and Shame: An Ethnographic Case Analysis of the Naming and Shaming Technique to Promote Human Rights for the Taalibe Qur’anic School Students of Senegal.” Human Rights Quarterly 40 (3): 605–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lahti Thiam, Sara. 2014. “Forced Begging, Aid and Children’s Rights in Senegal: Stories of Suffering and Politics of Compassion in the Promotion of Rights for the ‘Taalibe’ Qur’anic School Students of Senegal and Mali.” Ph.D. diss., McGill University.Google Scholar
  26. Merry, Sally Engle. 2016. The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Molland, Sverre. 2011. “‘I am Helping Them’: ‘Traffickers’, ‘Anti‐traffickers’ and Economies of Bad Faith.” The Australian Journal of Anthropology 22 (2): 236–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ndiaye, Mamadou. 1985. L’Enseignement Arabo-Islamique au Sénégal. Istanbul: Renkler Matbaasi, Organization de la Conference Islamique.Google Scholar
  29. Nieuwenhuys, Olga. 2001. “By the Sweat of Their Brow? ‘Street Children’, NGOs and Children’s Rights in Addis Ababa.” Africa 71 (4): 539–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pandolfi, Mariella. 2010. “From Paradox to Paradigm: The Permanent State of Emergency in the Balkans.” In Contemporary States of Emergency, edited by Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi, 153–72. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  31. Panter-Brick, Catherine. 2001. “Street Children and Their Peers: Perspectives on Homelessness, Poverty, and Health.” In Children and Anthropology: Perspectives for the 21st Century, edited by Helen B. Schwartzman, 83–97. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.Google Scholar
  32. Perry, Donna. 2004. “Muslim Child Disciples, Global Civil Society, and Children’s Rights in Senegal: The Discourses of Strategic Structuralism.” Anthropological Quarterly 77 (1): 47–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pfeiffer, James. 2004. “Civil Society, NGOs, and the Holy Spirit in Mozambique.” Human Organization 63 (3): 359–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reynolds, Pamela, Olga Nieuwenhuys, and Karl Hanson. 2006. “Refractions of Children’s Rights in Development Practice: A View from Anthropology—Introduction.” Childhood 13 (3): 291–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rosen, David M. 2015. Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination: From Patriots to Victims. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Schuller, Mark. 2016. Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Sénégal, République du. 2011. Cartographie et Analyse des Systèmes de Protection de l’Enfance au Sénégal. Ministère de la Famille, des Groupements Féminins et de la Protection de l’Enfance; Ministère de la Justice; Cellule d’Appui à la Protection de l’Enfance (CAPE).Google Scholar
  38. Stephens, Sharon. 1995. Children and the Politics of Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Understanding Children’s Work (UCW). 2007. “Enfants mendiants dans la région de Dakar.” Project Working Paper Series (ILO, Unicef, WB, Inter-Agency Research Cooperation Project).Google Scholar
  40. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 2017. “Senegal.” In The World Factbook. Washington, DC: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.Google Scholar
  41. U.S. Department of State. 2017. Trafficking in Persons Report. Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf.
  42. Wells, Karen. 2007. “Narratives of Liberation and Narratives of Innocent Suffering: the Rhetorical Uses of Images of Iraqi Children in the British Press.” Visual Communication 6 (1): 55–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. World Bank (WB). 2016. “World Bank Databank, World Development Indicators.” http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

Personalised recommendations