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Children Begging in Senegal

July 27, 2010

Hello Heather,

The President thought that you would like to hear that one of the main themes of NADEMS campaign
in this heated political season, is now front and center, ie “begging children phenomenon”
The President’s been talking about this issue from the GO.
It seems to me that every time he attacks a subject on his weekly radio show on, under
podcasts—> Yonnuu Degg avec Samba Kara Ndiaye, and makes it the theme of the broadcast on that day,
the next day, the press will get a hold of it and before you know it it’ll become a matter of public opinion.

Let’s face it, Child begging is wrong in Senegal, and it is wrong anywhere else it is practiced.
The good books preach that “as you saw, so shall you reap”, and we should never allow this to keep going.
Because begging is going to lead to more begging and to greed and then to criminality, and eventually to disorder and chaos
and who knows, maybe to total chaos and anarchy.

The resources we have should be dedicated to areas of education, development and so forth,
instead of being dedicated to the pockets of those in power with the lavish lifestyle (perks and luxury) they live.
I’m willing to bet that a very little fraction (amount) of these wasted assets could resolve this chronic problem that we face in Senegal.
We could create conducive conditions for these children, who are all going to be treated equally and given the same kind of
chances of making someone out of themselves and be successful and productive individuals later on in life instead of letting the rot
and become criminals.

I’m writing these lines just to emphasize the sensitivity the resident has on this particular subject, beside violence against women.
I’m sure you remember very well that he spent a lot of time on those two subjects during Marcia’s radio show last week.
Let’s wait and see how long it’ll take before violence against women is going to make it to the national level in the press in Senegal.

Here’s the link in French

Thank you for your kind attention
Djeylani Diagne
NADEMS Vice President

80% of the Senegalese population condemns the begging of children classified as abnormal. Despite the condemnation of the phenomenon (for those responsible of it), almost all (97%) of the Senegalese give charity to the children (beggars) and 78.5% regularly at least once a week. This information is contained in an opinion poll on the phenomenon of begging children in Dakar region sponsored by UNICEF (United Nations Fund for Children).

This is the result of an opinion poll by UNICEF on the phenomenon of begging children on “Perceptions of the phenomenon of begging in the Dakar region” whose briefing we received. The survey has collected the opinions of 1073 people living in the Dakar region, aged 18 and over.

The survey conducted in May 2010 by the Polling Institute of surveying and market research (Bda) reveals that 78.5% of the population regularly gives, at least once a week, money, rice, sugar, biscuits or sour cream to begging children. Asked about the main reasons for this attitude, 59.5% of those polled said they give charity to the begging children by compassion, humanism and just to help them out while the “religious” reasons only involved 36% of respondents.

According to the survey, “44% of the public is unaware of the law that prohibits economic exploitation and begging children.” Worse, a large majority of the population of the Dakar region think that the phenomenon of begging children has worsened in recent years: “83% say that the phenomenon is growing. The enhancement of the practice is due, in the opinion of respondents, as “a kind of neglect and dismissal from the part of the parents (18.7% of respondents). It is the “consequence of the increase in poverty. Any time more than half of respondents, is “66.6% believe that begging is not a part and shouldn’t have a part in the religious education of these children.”

This survey aims to identify the perception of the phenomenon of begging children by the general public to understand the opinions on the evolution of the phenomenon as well as the reasons that are the foundation behind this opinion and gauge the extent of the practice of giving to charity to begging children. It also aims to understand the attitudes towards the so called practice of giving to charity, to highlight the motivations behind the practice, to measure the degree of knowledge of the law on begging children and to obtain the solutions advocated by the general public in the Dakar region to reduce child begging.

A World Bank investigation entitled “Mobility and vulnerability of children in rural Senegal” estimates that in the whole country, “72,135 rural children – not to mention the foreign-born children that also leave their families to study the Koran, that the Dakar region attracts about 10% of these children. ” Previously, the report “Child beggars in Dakar region” of the UCW published in November 2007 noted that the phenomenon of begging children affects approximately “7,600 people in the region of Dakar. And, “almost half of these begging children” encountered in the Dakar region “are of foreign origin, native mostly to neighboring countries.”

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