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Women can change men’s attitude towards Almajiri system – Jamila

Thirty-three-year-old, Jamila Abubakar a resident of Rido area on the outskirt of Kaduna city, recently took her former husband, Isah Aliyu, to court seeking the…

Thirty-three-year-old, Jamila Abubakar a resident of Rido area on the outskirt of Kaduna city, recently took her former husband, Isah Aliyu, to court seeking the custody of their two children whom he took to an Almajiri school. She said she wanted to return the kids to a primary school where they have been enrolled inaddition to continuing with their Islamic education. The court granted her request and  her two children  have resumed their schooling. In this interview, she told Arewa Trust what role women can play in stopping the culture of sending kids to an Almajiri school.


What motivated you to drag your former husband to court?

The major reason for dragging my former husband to court is for taking my two children to an Almajiri School and the aim is to save the future of our children by acquiring both Western and Islamic education like any other child in the society. I want my children to be educated.

What is your view of education?

Education is light, education is power; education is meaningful tool for better life of an individual and the society. It is the greatest treasure you can give to your child that has a reward both in this world and the hereafter.

What is your level of education?

I just attended primary school but I believe education is good, sweet and something to be cherished. One day, God’s willing, I hope to further my education.

How do you view western education?

Western education is a modern way of acquiring knowledge in the present day world. It is a valuable tool for every human being to relate and compete favourably with one another and if you don’t have this kind of education your life will be incomplete.

What is your understanding of Almajiri School?

Almajiri School is an olden day system of learning where a child acquires the knowledge of the Holy Quran away from the child’s parents. But unfortunately this has now become something else, a nuisance and to me is not more a good process to give your child Quranic knowledge. Almost all the children in Almajiri schoosl, I mean the students, are just roaming the streets wasting their precious time without getting either the Quranic education or any skills to depend on. I think Islamic education can be acquired with children living under the care of their parents where they go school and come back home. So to me it is better to have your child going to any type of school under your watch.

What role do you think women can play stem the Almajiri menace?

I believe women have a better role to play to bring about the desired change of attitude of men towards the issues of Almajiri system of education. Women should first start with prayers  and act depending on their circumstances with their spouses because my former husband does not know the value of education but other husbands or parents may know even better. The change can begin from the family and it should not be through disagreement or quarrel but through dialogue. A woman can change the mind set of her husband against the Almajiri sSchool.  It must not be necessarily by going to court but if the situation warrants them to go why not?

Women should try to exhaust all the cultural and religious avenues to convince their spouses to understand the dangers of enrolling their children into Almajiri school and the implications of depriving them the opportunity to have western education. You know we have our cultural values that negate open confrontation with our spouse. I am not saying that Quranic education is bad but we have a modern way of pursuing Quranic education under the watch of the parents. Women have responsibilities to help our children by campaigning against the Almajiris roaming the street. Women can start with dialogue, consultation within the immediate family before going out to the society. The menace of these abuses of our children can be drastically reduced if married women, divorcees and other women in the society understand the need to make our society better. Women have a role to play especially in curtailing the issues of Almajiri system in Northern Nigeria.

What do want your children to achieve  in the future?

I want my children to become self-reliant, to have a better job like other decent people in the country. I want them to become a medical doctor or an engineer, a military officer or a police officer and any better job for responsible a person in the society.

Now that the court has given back your children what kind of assistance do you need to achieve your dream of educating your children?

I thanked  Almighty Allah for helping me to salvage my children and also thank the court. I will continue to pray for God’s intervention. I am still searching for a job and will continue to strive for something to do. I am appealing to privileged individuals, groups and government to help me with a job to do for the upkeep of myself and the children.

How would you be able to provide for your children with just the N6000 maintenance allowance the court ordered your husband to be paying as maintenance allowance?

The money fixed by the court is not enough to cater for the feeding of three children monthly but I don’t have any option for now. I am appealing to governments at all levels and well-meaning Nigerians to come to my aid and support me and the children to actualize my dream of educating them. I know him (ex-husband), he is a difficult man. Three days ago I called to inform that the little child was sick and I needed some money to buy drugs. Unfortunately up till this moment he has not sent a kobo neither did he visit to see the condition of the child. That is why I said even the stipulated amount may not be forthcoming although the money will be deposited on every 28th of the month in the court. I leave everything to Allah.

Do you have any skill or business to help you cater for yourself and the children?

No I don’t have any for now but I will continue to struggle for a small scale trading or any other menial job as a means of livelihood. Not only that, if I get a job I still want to further my education to secondary school level Insha-Allah.

What is the way out as you don’t have any means of livelihood and now living with your mother who is a widow?

I will seek from Allah Who is the provider and try to seek for support from relatives, good spirited people in the society to assist me.

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