In Soma, a community about 125km away from Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia, resides a young man motivated to make ends meet and pull his family out of the pits of poverty. Lamin Saidy, a renowned auto-mechanic in his neighborhood is inspired by the deep desire to ensure his younger siblings live a better life, have access to quality education and other basic amenities to create a better future for themselves. Lamin has worked as a mechanic for over 15years now where he earns a living and provides for his family. Lamin shared “My family and I have lived through many difficulties. I wake up every day with thoughts of them and ways to make their lives better”.

Like a lot of young people in The Gambia, Lamin spent long nights in his room contemplating about embarking on the irregular journey to Europe. This, like the many young and hungry people The Gambia has lost in the deadly mediterranean sea, he believed was his easy pass to make his dreams and desires for his family come true. Deep in thoughts, Lamin reflected on those gloomy days… “I remember how I told myself that I will embark on this journey for my family. That I was useless if I could not make their lives better”. After hearing about the Social Development Fund mini load scheme through the International Trade Centre, Lamin decided to give life one more shot in The Gambia.

In 2019, on a very sunny afternoon with little motivation and will to complete his tasks for the day, Lamin was met with the news of his successful application. With a broad smile and eyes hungry to conquer the world, lamin said “I felt happy. I was engulfed with immense joy and my first thoughts were ways to expand and grow my business”. When Lamin received the loan, he bought materials for the mechanic workshop he works for, started his own establishment and bought a tractor to deal stones and sand where he has employed about 5 young people in Soma. He said: “Before the loan, I was working for someone else but now I have my own business where I have employed other young people in my community. The grant has really changed my life”. Now in his final loan payment phase, Lamin shared that this is the best thing that have happened to him.

Lamin wants every young person that reads his story to be inspired and walk down the streets of The Gambia with hopes that they too can make it in The Gambia. He shared “The population of The Gambia is dominated by young people and for this we should work hard for the development of the country.”

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