IOM The Gambia
“If young people received adequate support to develop and use our skills, no one would be thinking of the backway.”
When I finished learning tailoring, I had no equipment to start my own workshop. However, my family was dependent on me., so I decided to leave for Senegal in pursuit of a better tailoring job. I worked there for three months, and each time I called back home, I would hear of someone taking the backway. When I heard my best friend was in Tripoli heading for Italy, I made up my mind to go too. My parents were against it, but all I wanted was to get to Europe, live a better life and help my family.
I got to Agadez with the little money I was able to save from my tailoring job. My money quickly finished, and my family had no money to send me. They pleaded with me to come back home but, still, all I saw was Europe. A Gambian family in Agadez introduced me to a tailor, under whom I worked for three months before continuing my journey. After five days in the desert, I reached Saba, Libya.
For three weeks, I worked in Saba as a house cleaner then proceeded to Tripoli. Life in Tripoli was hard. I often got sick, as living conditions were terrible. We would line up in the streets early in the morning to find a job; we didn’t care what kind of work it was.
After some time, I met an agent who had a boat. I paid him GMD 24,000 (approximately USD 480), then he asked us to wait for the boat. After two months of waiting, bandits showed up at our house and captured us.
On our way Zawiya, our bus had problem and I managed to escape. I finally began praying hard to have an opportunity to return home, as living conditions were unbearable. Fortunately, I was told by some friends about IOM. I visited its office, registered for assistance to return home and arrived back in December 2018.
I am so happy to be back in my country and see my parents. I now run my own tailoring shop and I have people working under me, learning how to sow. Tailoring in my hometown Basse really works during the Eid season or when there are special occasions. When business is dull, I hope to engage in buying and selling goods so I can diversify my skills and source of income.