When the journey to Europe became the only hope for survival, Kawsu Jaiteh did not mind if that meant taking the irregular route. After much struggle, he made it to Libya. Kawsu travelled with only a skill in painting which rendered his hopes for success futile. With so many challenges and unpleasant experiences he made his way back home. Going back to his childhood days, Kawsu would gather old radio parts to assemble as though he was an expert in electrical repairs. He grew up with this passion for electronics and eventually started repairing mobile phones. After returning to The Gambia, with support from the Youth Empowerment Project’s SkYE Fund programme, he enrolled in a six-month training program at Sterling Technical Training Center in Bansang.
With honesty and good work ethics, Kawsu was able to leverage on the lack of solar installation expertise in his home village of Nyani Kunting in the Central River Region. Kawsu used that opportunity to work and earn a living whilst inspiring the new generation of solar installers in his village who would have otherwise sought the services from neighboring country Senegal or faraway villages.
Reflecting on his irregular journey to Europe, he shared “most migrants traveling in search of greener pasture, do so due to a lack of skill or proper means of earning. I believe after being trained with the skills, the push to embark on the journey will be narrowed because there is a possibility to make it here.”
Kawsu now has eight young trainees and two have recently graduated. "I plan to expand and build a company on electronics so that I can employ more young people.” This, he alluded to while pointing out that his previous ambition for embarking on the irregular migration journey to Europe was due to the lack of an established skill, a decision he wished could have been overturned as he now understands his purpose for his country.
With fixed stare at a distance, Kawsu shared these words “My advice for the youth is for them to seek knowledge. Learn a skill and work because what we are searching for in other countries is here in The Gambia. So, we the youth need to stand strong and work towards national development as we are the only ones who can develop our country. I believe with more capital support for start-ups like mine, it is possible to make it.”
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