ALMAJIRAI DIARY (1): Despair, Hunger, Homesick — Meet The Unprivileged Youngsters Roaming Our Streets

It is Children’s Day and those who are not denied their rights on this day, have defining moments with their parents, but not their despair almajirai counterparts roaming the streets with their branding bowls.

In Gwallameji Area, Bauchi State, almajirai children are the gaze of the big eyes. They are a means of getting domestic work done by many traders and residents.

Sadiq Yusuf, who hails from Azare Local Government Area, Bauchi State, has been away from his parents for over two years. Going home is something he described as “Impossible.” 

Although he believes his parents want him to excel in life. Yet, Sadiq has a score to settle with life, even though he was not sure about his age. 

Begging around to feed is constant. “But sometimes, I do petty jobs for pittance,” Sadiq said. “I have to also take something to my mallam from the little I make.”

Sadiq Yusuf

“Honestly, I am not happy,” Sadiq grumbled and went silent afterwards.

To Yusuf Auwal, Life is Diffiicult And Unfair. But He Still Laughs 

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Yusuf Auwal buries his pains behind his smiling face. He would not stop laughing until he had comment on the reality of being an almajiri child. The Jigawa-born was brought to acquire knowledge in an almajirai school in Bauchi State about two years ago.

Auwal told WikkiTimes he had started attending a formal school in Jigawa before coming to Bauchi. “Life is difficult and unfair,” he said. “I thought everything will continue the way it was in Jigawa but, no.”

Yusuf Awal

What goes around comes around. That was Auwal’s evergreen thought waiting to see the light of the day. He said he wants to become an almajirai mallam and “my students will be like I am to my mallam now.”

Besides that, Auwal just wants to be home again.

What Is Sauce For The Goose Is Sauce For The Gander

Usman  Abba, a native of Kano State, said, “almajiranci could have been interesting if we have western education.” 

“I feel happy when I see other children being taken to school by their parents,” Abba told WikkiTimes. “I feel sad again because I did not have the privilege of experiencing this.”

Usman Abba

Being an almajiri to Abba is somewhat interesting. But with western education, he sees himself making a difference. “Both almajiranci and western education is good,” Usman Abba said, adding they both add to knowledge. “But since I do not have the privilege to attend a formal school, I will accept my fate.” For him, some days are just bad, especially when there is nothing to eat.

To be continued…

This story was produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.



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