Talk-2-Me: What About the Almajiris?

Rahama Obadak
Marketing & Comms, Flexisaf

Before now, I always thought the word Almajiri meant a beggar, I guess mostly because that was how they were referred to in my community. But there is a clear distinction between the two.

So, who is an Almajiri? An Almajiri, is a learner who searches for knowledge at home or on transit, and a Mabaraci is a beggar who begs for alms on streets, public places e.t.cA few days ago, I and a colleague of mine attended a forum organized by Ja muje, a citizen-led initiative of Northern lifeNG, that is planning a synergy between governments and educational institutions to achieve sustainable development in communities of northern Nigeria.The forum was organized to discuss the challenges faced by the Almajiri system of education and what difference we (as good citizens and organizations) can make. I must say, that forum was a real eye-opener for me, a lot of concerns were raised which I was never aware existed.So, the organizer, Farida Yahya asked the first question “How do you think we can get political will in the Almajiri system?”And the responses came in, from panelists and the audience, of particular interest to me was the response from some Hajiya Amina, she said ”A lot of politicians, like most of us see the Almajiris as a nuisance, which is not meant to be. Some of them who have made it to where they are today, were once in the Almajiri system when it was it’s effective self at that time. She continued “we need to first embrace the Almajiri system and accept it as a part of us, and we the masses must stand firm on our feet, and make sure they the politicians put this Almajiri system on top of their priority lists and we must make sure they fulfill those commitments, before we pledge loyalty to them. I think that would go a long way in making a difference.” Applause.Do you agree with Hajiya Amina? I do. I was also of the opinion that, we must employ empathy in dealing with this problem. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes, these poor boys (mostly), do not even have what to eat, when your bowels are begging for mercy, how on earth can you be productive? Another thing is, these young boys, their teachers and parents, are all not aware of the positives of making this system successful. There will be more skilled manpower, more productivity, less idleness hence less crime, less vulnerability to joining terrorist groups and so on. I therefore urged Ja muje, “I urge you and your partners to raise the awareness to all these stakeholders, on what good will result from playing their roles well. Educate them, mention success stories to them, find a way to motivate them and make them passionate about what they are doing, and keep pledging and proving your support to them.” How does FlexiSAF come in?You might be wondering, if we are so concerned, what role do we intend to play?And indeed, we have pledged support through our SAF talk-2-me campaign to work with abled NGO’s and Advocate groups like Ja Muje, to help empower and make a difference to the Almajiri system. After all, An overall positive impact on education in Africa is our mission, and we are out to fulfill it. You want to know how? The gist is yet to end. Catch up on part 2 of Talk-2-me and the Almajiris here And do you also want to join FlexiSAF in it’s campaign for the best education for every child? Do not think twice. Join us now! Subscribe with the form below, and get updates on insightful articles and activities. See you soon! Where ever you are!