The Hausa word Almajiri is derived from the Arabic word, "المُهَاجِرْ" "al-Muhajirun," which refers to a person who migrated his home in search of Islamic knowledge. (Therefore, referring to a Muslim as Almajiri is not an insult at all)
Colloquially, the term has expanded to refer to any young person who begs on the streets and does not attend secular school.
Many people in Hausa land give 'Sadaka' to almajirai on daily basis seeking Divine reward and protection. Almajirai are children, usually from poor rural backgrounds, who leave their hometowns to study Islamic learning with malammai, teachers of the Quran.
Most malams were educated in the alamajiri system themselves, and as they do not receive a salary but depend financially on the alms of the community and the work of the almajirai.
The almajirai usually begin their studies between the ages of 3 and 12, and learn about the Quran in schools called tsangayu. In their early twenties, the almajirai reach sauka, graduation, and become gardi or gardawa. When not engaged in learning the Quran, almajirai in rural areas may work on farms, while urban almajirai conduct small tasks like domestic chores, running errands, and fetching water. Some almajiri attend secular schools concurrently, or switch between secular and almajiri schools. Additionally, almajirai practice alms begging, or almajiranchi, out of necessity to eat. Almajiranchi was not originally part of the almajirai system, but it is now said to prepare the almajirai for the hardships of life, make them strong and humble, and keep them devoted to studying the Quran. The practice of alms begging is widely denounced as child abuse in Nigeria.
Note: You can't compare those Almajiri of the time of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) with the Situation of Almajiri in Nigeria of today, because of lack of jobs.
Conclusion: Almajiri is not an insultive word.
Read about Almajiri (Wikipedea) on Google.
May Allah unite the Muslims Ummah across the Globe.
This post was written by Fatimah Otuaga Victoria, Former Christian lady who revert to Islam.