Funded by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)-Gambia office, the event seeks to change behaviours and concepts of young people, particularly those in rural Gambia on irregular migration.
It is also intended to strengthen the relationship between MIC and the affiliated communities on migration and its related issues; help young people to draw moral lessons from the stories; remind the participants about the dangers of irregular migration as well as to promote excellence in informal education and support the participants with learning aids for growth and development and redirect the positive mindset of the participants.
Other partners in the activity include The Gambia National Youth Council through and the Migrants as Messengers (MAM) project.
In May, the first Moonlight Storytelling was held at Mandinaba where Muhammed Kuyateh, a griot from the community led the storytelling, while a member of the Migrants as Messengers shared experience that he and other people underwent while on their journey in search of greener pasture. The event later culminated into campfire.
Sulayman Darboe, programme officer of The Rural Child said the Moonlight Storytelling is an activity that is intended to remind young people about the dangers associated with irregular migration.
He expressed optimism that the activity will bring back to life some of the lost glories in communities that have contributed in reminding children about the past, which include storytelling.
Migration officer at the West Coast Region Migration Information Center (MIC), Binta L.Y. Touray expressed delight at seeing young people embracing the idea of the moonlight storytelling, saying they believed that it has the potential to change lives and some misconceptions associated with irregular migration.
Mamina Jallow and Awa M. Bah, migrant returnees with the Migrants as Messengers (MAM) project both explained some of the troubles, tortures and sufferings they went through during their unsuccessful journey.
“We were exposed to infections and harassment. They worse thing about my journey was that the only boy who was supporting me while in the canoe ended up dying,” Awa M. Bah told the gathering.
She reminded the young people that they all owe it to their nation and the people because they never prayed for what happened to them on the journey to happen to any of their sisters or brothers.
Awa said she was already a successful young entrepreneur but peer influence led her into the journey when her business collapsed.