By Mustapha Jallow
Nineteen young qualified tailors who were engaged in apprenticeship training were on Saturday certificated by Latrikunda-Sabiji Tailoring Association for their determination and hard work.
The graduation ceremony, which was held at Latrikunda Sabiji market, was attended by elders, officials and youth. The 19 youth were trained at local tailoring shops by Gambians and are now qualified to run their own businesses.
The certificates will help the graduates to showcase their talents as tailors within and outside the country. It will also reduce youth’s involvement in taking the “back way” journey (migrating to Europe through the deadly sea).
According to the association’s officials, engaging the youth into tailoring will enable them stay and work in their country with less frustrations, adding the frustration often lead them to drug abuses, theft and other criminal activities.
Dawda Kebbeh, the association’s spokesman, said their association does not only focus on tailoring but they also engage in environmental cleansing exercises within Kanifing Municipality.
Kebbeh said they cleaned the Faji-kunda health centre, Latri-kunda mosque, cemeteries etc. He said this was done to ensure the youth are discouraged from the “back-way”, drug use and so on.
Bai Mbood, the association’s adviser said tailoring is a noble profession, saying most of the jobless youths should be encouraged into the tailoring as ‘this will eradicate the idea of back-way.’
Mbood said tailoring is very important because no one can look fashionable without wearing clothes sewn by tailors. He said the association is also aimed at discouraging young people from selling drugs, stealing, and begging in the streets. He further said that every nation’s development lies in the hands of the youth.
“Our aim is to discourage them from resorting to irregular migration to Europe,’’ he expressed. “I’ve seen discipline and satisfaction in these young men of our nation.’’
Mbood urged the graduates to respect the certificates awarded to them by showing more dedication and commitment to their work. He tasked them to desist from things that would undermine their profession.
He also called on the government to empower and support this initiative because it’s part of taking the country forward.
Ansumana Bayo, Councillor for Latri-kunda- who represented the mayor of Kanifing Municipality Council (KMC), said the profession will transform the graduates’ lives and the lives of people within their communities.
“This is self-employment and there is high demand for it in our society. In my humble opinion, the reason why some youth find themselves in the back way is because of lack of hope or employment,” he said.
Haddy Jatta the daughter of the Alkalo, who spoke on behalf of her father, challenged the graduates to be committed and focused on pursuing their goals.
Saikouba Marong, National Assembly Member for Latri-kunda Sabiji, challenged Gambian youth to venture into skills acquisition, arguing that there are lots of jobs in the country that most of the youth don’t want to be engaged in.
“Sometime, I pass people in their gathering saying there is no work in The Gambia,” he said.
The lawmaker also called on officials in the education ministries to ensure that technical training both in lower and higher education levels are supported.
Momodou Salieu Jallow, one of the speakers, called for unity among tailors across the country, saying through unity, they can achieve so many things and encourage more people into the profession. He also called for government’s cooperation and support to their association.