CIC key leader Francis with Talibé children in Mali. The tin cans in their hands are used to beg for money, which is given to the “marabou” or Koranic teacher. Most Talibé children are unwashed, hungry and neglected. Although this photo was taken a few years ago, the plight of these children sadly holds true today.

Amazingly, scientific studies have shown that when a person is experiencing fear or trauma, he or she loses about half their normal ability to learn and process information. That’s a 50% reduction in learning capacity!1

Furthermore, when we experience stress or frustration at home, school or church, we lose up to 25% of our capacity to learn and think.

Besides the trauma and fear that children often experience from all the issues in Africa, traditional religious beliefs also perpetuate fear with teachings that their god(s) are easily angered and must be appeased with ritualistic works, sacrifices, or both. Fear and shame are major forces in the lives of children and adults.

And this worldview often manifests itself in the physical everyday life too. It often allows authority figures, like dads, teachers, officials, etc. to motivate through fear and shame instead of love and encouragement.

For a child growing up in this environment, life is often wrapped up in fear, lack of self-worth, and hopelessness.

So in CIC we seek to always provide a safe, sweet place for children to be restored in Him. Children from the streets, those victimized by rape, poverty, abuse, trafficking, etc. . .they all come to CIC Clubs and find a safe place filled with love…with His green pastures and His still waters. Tawey, a 14-year-old CIC Child Leader from Niger, and former Talibé child, testifies:

“I was a street child but thank God I am not anymore thanks to CIC who recovered me for God. I’m really happy to say truly thank you to the Lord Jesus Christ who wanted the ‘salvation’ to reach me by his grace and not by any merit. Indeed, I was a Talibé wanderer who begged each evening for meals and to our Koranic teacher. It was in the neighborhood where the CIC office is located. There was a CIC club session that day and I enjoyed watching what happens. At the end, there were three children to whom the Mentor told us to wait, and he took time with us explaining to us the things of “God” in our Zarma language. And so since February 12, 2018, I joined the CIC Club of Maradi.”

1The impact of trauma and stress on learning capacity was developed by Cherilyn Orr, Professor at Vanguard College, Canada, also founder and director of The Stoplight Approach, Uganda. Used with permission.