A saurare mu! (Listen to us!)
…Radio by almajirai children in northern Nigeria
In the northern city of Kano, as in towns and cities throughout the northern states of Nigeria, small boys, shabbily dressed and holding plastic bowls, beg for food and money. They aren’t street children but almajirai—derived from the Arabic word al-muhajirin, meaning a seeker of Islamic knowledge—whose parents have sent them to seek religious instruction. Traditional systems of support for the schools, the teachers and the students have broken down, and the children, usually far from home and deprived of care, are pushed to the streets to beg or are hired out to work long hours.
The children are ubiquitous but people generally ignore them and few ever listen to them: they’re seen and described as a “threat” and a “menace”, not as small children struggling to survive.
But thanks to UNICEF, some of these children are making their story heard. The boys, with the support of Radio Nigeria Kaduna, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and the Child Almajiri Empowerment and Support Initiative, made a 13-episode radio programme about their lives. It was broadcast nationally and by local stations to an audience of some 40 million people from June to September 2010.
The programmes are all in Hausa. The English translations are provided in PDF format (you will need Adobe Reader to open them).
Download MP3s Download transcripts