The Gambia Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) has chosen the Lower River Region (LRR) through the YMCA Economic Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Project Office of the region to host the 2013 Africa Youth Day in November.
The decision for LRR to host one of the organisation’s most important events in its calendar was communicated to the regional YMCA office by Joseph Peacock, deputy National Director of the Gambia YMCA, who was on tour to supervise the progress of the final batch of youth on the skilled jobs training in the region.
Speaking to the YMCA students and their trainers over the week in Jarra Soma, Mr Peacock said plans are at an advanced stage from his end to transform the YMCA office in LRR from a project focus to a permanent institutional chapter of the organisation.
“And when you host our Africa Youth Day Celebration it will be a true dream for YMCA community within the region to interact and share knowledge and experiences with their counterparts in all other parts of the country as well as lure more youths to benefit from our support packages,” he said.
He added that the recruitment of young people into meaningful skills resulting to the creation of jobs is in line with his organisation’s goal.
According to him, YMCA has continued to flourish through the core principle of creating an empire of working youth in areas of their own choices irrespective of their gender, religion or level of education.
The Gambia YMCA top official said that despite expressing his level of satisfaction on the progress of the final batch of the Takku Leggay project within the ten training centres in the region, he would like to urge the trainees, the alumni and their trainers to make good use of the opportunity availed to them by his organisation.
“Take ownership of good decisions, form strong workers’ clubs, use the knowledge and the resources given to you and invent your businesses to uplift your own ranks without delay,” he stated.
For his part, Ebrima Kinteh, YMCA Field Officer for Lower River Region, said the two-year existence of the YMCA in the region has been marked with steady growth and progress with skills and entrepreneurial revolution for the youth.
Mr Kinteh said that with just over four months to go in the final skills job entrepreneurial course of his Takku Liggay project, the monitoring report from the YMCA National office is complementary to their efforts at the regional level.
He expressed hope in obtaining ninety-five percent of positive testimonies relating to the performance of their project alumni.
“This will be in the areas of their own enterprises, repayment of their loans to the YMCA, innovation into the market and income generation strategies,” he said.
Alasan Trawally, Director of Soma Scout/Girls Guide Skills Training Centre, which is one of the YMCA youth recruitment centres, observed that the Takku Liggay project is instrumental in cleaning the streets and the ghettos of youth, especially in and around their regional headquarters.
Mr Trawally was speaking at a time when Tie and Dye and Batik trainees at his centre have produced another consignment of handmade products thanks to the ideas and skills they have gathered in just two months.
Kaddy B. Fofana, a student at the Soma Scout/Girls Guide Skills Training Centre, said: “I am thinking of graduating with fantastic model of Tie and Dye and Batik skills by December and then wherever I settle my own work will pull the market there.”
Serign Sabally, one of the beneficiaries, is trying to forget his “less meaningful life” since he dropped out of school due to lack of sponsorship in pursuing formal education, to his new venture of carpentry.
It would be recalled that the Gambia YMCA has disbursed over six hundred thousands dalasis to train youth and women groups in the Lower River Region on life skills and entrepreneurship in the past twenty months, a project paying well for the beneficiaries and their families.