Who Are The Talibés?

Talibés are young lads who are given by their parents to Muslim leaders known as Marabouts. The word 'talibé' means 'disciple' in Arabic and these boys receive discipleship and instruction in Islamic ways.

What Is Life Like For The Talibé Boys?

Daily life for a talibé is, in short, harsh and loveless. The child will spend each day on the streets carrying a metal pot begging for money or anything resalable such as sugar and rice. As a result of spending years on the streets, lacking any love and having no proper discipline or formal education, behavioural problems and delinquency are commonplace among the boys. Many will either run away or enter a life of petty crime. Some of them end up in the Prison for Minors in Dakar as a consequence of this life

The Talibé Vision of ARM Senegal

'For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.' Jer 29:11

It is our vision that the talibé boys be restored - not just spiritually - but morally, physically and emotionally. We plan to give them a Hope and a Future. The work among Ziguinchor's talibé boys has 4 main aims:

Evangelism To teach the Word of God in a way that is original, exciting and enjoyable praying the boys will come to know Jesus.

Education To teach the boys reading, writing, maths, French language, history, etc.

Apprenticeship To offer the older boys basic training in welding, carpentry and other skills.

Sport To provide a sports program including a Talibé football league.

ARM Senegal has a team committed to reaching this marginalized group with the love of Jesus. We were able to purchase a site in 2002 on which classrooms, a simple kitchen and shower block and a 5- a-side football pitch have been built. Each morning the centre opens at 08.30. As the boys arrive they can take a shower, wash their clothes and play games and receive treatment for any illnesses or physical injuries that they may have. During the morning, they will play football, competing in a league, which finishes with a cup final at the end of the dry season. They also have daily lessons in basic literacy. The last activity before lunch is sharing the Word of God with the boys by telling Bible stories. Once this is over the boys eat a simple meal of fish, rice and vegetables before leaving the Centre around 13.45.

We have a strong vision to start vocational training for older Talibé boys in such trades as welding, mechanics, horticulture, carpentry, batik and sewing. However, this needs to be in a residential setting with strong and commited leadership. We are praying for the right person(s) to emerge for this project.

The team also makes frequent visits to local marabouts to raise the profile of the work and to remove any concerns they may have.

Talibé boys in our compound

A Typical Day at "Talibé Land"

Throughout the morning the boys bring their metal pots and money which are taken care of in the office by the team. There is also basic first aid equipment onsite, for the treatment of cuts, scrapes and bruises. Boys with any more serious wounds or illnesses are sent to the Good Samaritan clinic, where they receive free treatment. ARM-Senegal also pays for hospital treatment for the boys when it is needed (e.g. casts for broken bones).

Wider Work

The team makes regular visits to the Daras [the abodes of the Marabouts] to meet the Marabouts and to spend time with the boys in their "normal" environment. During these visits - mainly on Sunday afternoons - any necessary First Aid is given to the boys. The visits are a valuable way of addressing any of the concerns that the Marabouts may have about their boys being involved in the work and of reaching out and witnessing to these communities which are far from Jesus.

The Team

The Talibé project is currently being managed by Jean Didace. Jean Didace says this is not his true calling and asks for us to pray for someone called and equipped by God to lead this work. Nevertheless, Jean Didace is diligent and loving towards the boys. Two of the church members, Angélique and Diabou, cook the food for the boys every day.

The team is often assisted by other church members in various aspects of the work, and also by other short term visitors to the project.

How you can be involved

You can help Jean Didace and his team in this work by:

Prayer: To receive the Prayer letter of ARM-Senegal contact Chris & Vivienne Lawton

Giving: It costs about £27 per day to feed the 100-120 boys who come every weekday. In addition, there are training, admin and maintenance costs as well as local staff wages. Contact Chris & Vivienne Lawton