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Help to stop Boko Haram recruiting child soldiers by feeding and educating 25 children

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Freethinkers International is an international community celebrating freedom of speech, living and thinking The project is run by Stichting id Fix, a charity based in the Netherlands since 2006. www.freethinkersinternational.net. Tax reduction applicable in the Netherlands (ANBI)
Help to stop Boko Haram recruiting child soldiers

The Almajiri system is a traditional Islamic education system that has been prevalent in Northern Nigeria for centuries. Historically, it served as a means of imparting Quranic knowledge to young boys, who are often sent away from their homes to live with Islamic scholars. The term "Almajiri" is derived from the Arabic word "al-Muhajirun," meaning migrants, reflecting the idea that these children leave their homes in pursuit of religious education. 

 

While the Almajiri system has deep cultural and religious roots, it has faced numerous challenges over the years. One major concern is the living conditions of these young learners, often characterized by poverty, inadequate shelter, and limited access to basic amenities. The system has also been criticized for neglecting formal education and leaving these children without essential skills for their future.

Feeding these street children is the first step towards getting them back to regular school and building up their lives.

 

Efforts have been made by the Nigerian government and various organizations to reform the Almajiri system, aiming to integrate it with formal education while addressing the socio-economic issues associated with it. These reforms seek to strike a balance between preserving cultural and religious traditions and ensuring that every child has access to a well-rounded education, regardless of their background.

 

The Almajiri system has, unfortunately, been exploited by extremist groups such as Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. Boko Haram opposes Western education and has targeted schools, including those associated with the Almajiri system, to advance its radical agenda. This has added a layer of complexity to the challenges already faced by the Almajiri system, linking it to broader security issues in the region. The exploitation of vulnerable youth within the Almajiri system by extremist groups underscores the need for comprehensive approaches addressing both educational and security concerns in the region.



One vector that Boko Haram uses to target vulnerable children for kidnapping and recruitment, is food, or lack thereof. As the Almajiri youth are largely left to fend for themselves, they tend to be malnourished somewhat and therefore easy prey for extremists. 

 

Freethinkers International (FI) is starting a project working with a locals in Borno state who are doing their best to feed the children in need. There is some governmental assistance, but much of the meals they are cooking, resources are limited and many are being paid out of their own salary. There is nowhere near enough funding to help all the children in need. Most NGO’s in the region focus on Borno and Abuja. FI is hoping to find a sustainable stream of income for a meal programme serving up to 1000 children in need. 


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