By Cherno Omar Bobb
At least 13 Arabic schools in the Central River Region are to benefit from the Tekki-Fii program by Instituto Marques de Valle Flor (IMVF) in collaboration with the National Youth Council (NYC) and Tekki-Fii partners.
These three organizations and their partners last week embarked on a 3 days sensitization of 13 Arabic schools in CRR on the dangers attached to irregular migration. The activity for the 13 schools under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education being funded by the European Union.
The activities were geared towards enlightening students on the dangers associated with irregular migration, human trafficking as well as to highlight opportunities available for young people in The Gambia.
Joana Martins, Project Coordinator for IMVF) said that the initiative has been in existence for the past three years. She said prior to their CRR activities, they worked with 25 schools in four regions but those schools did not include Arabic schools. Martins said success cannot be attained in the absence of commitment.
Mustapha Sonko, Migration Officer at the National Youth Council, said the Gambia comprised of a young population, adding that the rate of unemployment in the country stands around 41% which resulted in many youths venturing into irregular migration.
According to him, youths have the conviction that the only place they could make it is Europe.
“Since most migrants might not meet the visa requirement, they therefore venture into using the irregular means,” he said.
He stated that according to reports by the government of the Gambia and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) there are currently 140,000 Gambians abroad which constitutes approximately 7% of the country’s population.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Oustass Abdoulie Dem, a native of Njoben village, said such initiative has never happened in the history of their village and therefore thanked IMVF and partners for reaching out to Arabic schools.