Members of Youth Against Irregular Migration (YAIM), who just concluded a five days nationwide sensitisation tour on the dangers of irregular migration in the North Bank Region has called on young people to desist from participating in the perilous journey to end the loss of lives in the high seas.
The team visited communities, schools, border posts and football fields where they held discussions with young people on irregular migration.
Formed by the second batch of Gambian migrant returnees from Libya who arrived in the country in April, last year, YAIM members now want to build awareness among young people and families to understand that there are huge economic and life loss in irregular migration.
30 youth including returnees, journalists, youth organisations and students took part of the caravan. Radio talk shows were held at provincial community radio stations to reach a wider audience. The German government through their Banjul office supports the caravan.
Speaking to reporters over the weekend, the organisation’s secretary general Mustapha Sallah said the tour targeted to raise awareness of young people and parents on the dangers of irregular migration and share opportunities available in the country with.
Mr. Sallah said the second phase of the project will be held in the Central River Region-North from 24th to 28th February which will be followed by other regions. The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) Gambia Mini-Grant was also discussed during the meetings.
He said the tour provided them the avenue to link young people to some of the opportunities that GYIN Gambia and NYC and a host of other organisations are providing to young people across the country.
Karamo Keita, chairperson of the organisation said they are hopeful that the words of the invited successful young entrepreneurs who shared their success stories with the communities will inspire students and other youth to venture into business to create jobs for themselves. “We thank the German government for supporting the caravan and GYIN Gambia for the coaching and mentoring since we arrived in the country.”
“Some of us were beaten, robbed, imprisoned and most of us lost our monies on the journey,” one of the returnees said.
Some returnees said at the meetings that they participated in irregular migration with the notion that they cannot be successful in their country. “We regretted embarking on this perilous journey because many of our brothers were beaten and killed in our presence whilst some die of hunger and starvation,” another returnee said.
Momodou Idrissa Njie, executive director of GYIN Gambia said irregular migration has serious repercussion on Gambian societies, calling for the need to fight against it by all means necessary. He said reports have given that thousands of youth have lost their lives in the perilous journey.