Children begging for money with rusted tin bowls offers insight into the extreme lack of educational opportunities in Niger. These children are trying to collect enough money to attend a Koranic School. For West African parents, sending their children to a school where the Koran is studied is an Islamic tradition that goes back many centuries.
Sadly, in recent decades this practice has suffered abuse by people who make money at the expense of the children. With little government oversight, thousands of these students spend much of their time on the streets tired, neglected, hungry and begging. Often, their education consists of copying and memorizing the Koran for only a few hours a week in a small make-shift classroom packed with students.
This situation underscores the desperation parents feel because of the lack of educational opportunities in Niger. In a country where the majority of the people have never attended school, parents are prone to utilize any educational opportunity afforded to them, regardless of quality, because they understand that education is a key to economic mobility.
It is this lack of educational opportunity that moves Remember Niger partners in the United States and Niger to action. To learn more about children being lured into servitude, go to this news article: Islamic Schools Trick African Boys Into Begging.