It is a fact of life for tens of thousands of talibés in this predominantly Muslim country — young boys who live in religious schools called daaras, away from their families and far from home.
It is a common tradition across west Africa for parents to send their sons to these schools to learn the Quran. But daaras are not regulated by the government in Senegal, and while conditions vary, many boys wind up living in extreme squalor, forced to beg for most of their waking hours, and beaten if they do not meet a quota of money, rice or sugar set by their Quranic teacher, who is called a marabout.
Beaten by his teacher
“If he beats us today, tomorrow when we go begging if we don’t bring home raw rice, he’ll beat us again,” Mamadou tells CNN. “We are forced.”
Mamadou’s marabout, Mamadou Alassane Diallo, denies beating boys who don’t meet their quota.
But he admits that he forces them to beg.
“Yes, it is required for them to beg because I don’t have the…