IOM The Gambia
“My customer base has increased during the course of the few months I started the business. Hopefully this will continue, so I can expand the business with more machines and hire people to work for me.”
I was running a tailoring business before leaving for Libya. The business was going well, but the money was not flowing as I expected. So, I sold everything I owned to finance my journey to Europe and look for better opportunities.
I left in 2017 via Senegal, Mali then Burkina Faso. I headed for Algeria but got caught and returned to the Niger border, and then eventually made it to the capital, Niamey, where I worked as a tailor for up to five months. While in Niger, the situation was getting difficult. The route to Italy was blocked, as rescue ships withdrew operations in the central Mediterranean. Barely anyone would take the journey from Niger to Libya because you would be stranded in Libya and not able to cross to Italy.
So, my journey ended and I could not proceed further. I decided to return home to reunite with my family because the situation was not helping. The best thing was to go back home and start all over again. IOM facilitated my voluntary return via land from Niger.
I am happy to be back home. I received my reintegration support in the form of a tailoring shop. I was supported with four different kinds of sewing machines, including a designer machine. The business is going well and I’m happy about the progress, as I’m getting what I want from it. I have around five apprentices from the community working under me and learning to become tailors. I also have plans to do business in Guinea-Bissau. I can sew clothes here and export them because they have a good market for sewed clothes and I would like to take advantage of it.