IOM The Gambia
Rosa Comfort Gomez – Beautician in Brusubi (WCR)
“People should be able to migrate as a right, but we should take into consideration that there are safer ways to migrate; be it within Africa or in other continents.”
In 2017, I migrated to Ghana to study cosmetology. Given that both The Gambia and Ghana are member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), I was able to reside in Ghana for two and half years and returned back to The Gambia in 2019.
The only required documents for my travel by air were my valid passport and yellow fever card. After the 90-day limit, I applied for a residential permit from the immigration authorities and received it within two weeks. Permits should be renewed yearly and cost between USD 100-200 (approximately GMD 5,000-10,000), depending on whether you overstay or not. During my stay in Ghana, I experienced a bit of xenophobia and racism, especially because some of the locals thought I was trying to take their jobs after finishing school. Despite this, the positives of migrating to Ghana outweighed the negative. I had good access to courses which were not available in The Gambia and learned important skills such as cream and perfume making.
Since I’ve been back, I am working on opening my own salon in Brusubi to offer services such as hair braiding, makeup, pedicure and nails. However, due to the pandemic, the whole process is taking longer than expected, so I'm currently working from home.
With my experience, migrating to countries within the ECOWAS sub-region was beneficial because it has many opportunities for Gambians, including education and job alternatives. It’s important when traveling to adequately follow all procedures. From my experiences, I ensured that my passport was valid and carried the required documents such as the yellow fever card.
I believe that there’s nothing that you can’t get within Africa. If you go to the backway, most of the time you are working low-skilled jobs and risking your life. I believe people should be able to migrate as a right, but we should take into consideration that there are safer ways to migrate; be it within Africa or in other continents.