By: Dawda Baldeh
Fakebba Susso a 33-year-old Gambian professional barber residing in Basse has called on youths to acquire skills to make them self-dependent and reduce the rate of dependency on others, unemployment and crime. The 33-old barber said he chose not to further his education because of the passion he has for barbing.
The Basse born barber said he wants to be a role model to many young people in his community through his barbing skills.
“I wanted to become either a doctor or lawyer as it is mostly the dream young persons in school, but I have a great passion for barbing which motivated me to challenge myself to venture into the profession. I was the only Gambian barber in my area while the rest were non-Gambians,” he said.
He said many people perceive skills as something meant for school dropouts, this he added is hindering many young people to acquire skills.
“I am calling on young people to acquire skills to reduce dependency and avoid engaging in crimes. Sometimes, many Gambian youths want to venture into skills but the societal perspective is hindered them to do so.
If other people can leave their countries to come here and make lot of money from barbing, why not Gambians? It is very difficult because Gambians mentality and attitude towards skills is different,” Fakebba Susso explained.
“It was very frustrating when I started barbing after my graduation because many people were thinking I was a failure. My colleagues were furthering their studies in different institutions, but today I am happy and self-dependent while my family depends on me. I learnt from those non-Gambians before establishing my shop. Many of my customers encouraged me to take barbing very seriously after they realized my potentials.”
Mr. Susso said his mother was not supporting him when he informed her that he wanted to pursue barbing as a career but noted that his brother has always believed in his ability and supported him.
“I was psychologically traumatized by what people normally said about me, especially when I met with my classmates. This was really challenging to me, but now I have conquered the negative criticisms made against me. It was very discouraging whenever I saw my colleagues going to Universities while others travelling to different countries, but I choose barbing which I have always strongly believed will change my life,” he explained.
He told this medium that he was lucky to undergo GIZ training program after which he was certified and given a sum of D50,000 which he used to set up his business.
“Now, I don’t depend on anybody for help and my family is really benefiting from me. I need support because I want to expand my business and train more young people in barbing so that they can be self-reliant and independent.”
The young barber stated that not everyone should work in office while encouraging other young people to learn skills that will benefit them.
“Gambians need to be serious about skills because every year thousands of students are graduating from universities and other institutions and government cannot employ all of them. If you have quality skills, you cannot be jobless if you have useful skills and you will make money. We need to change the narrative now and learn skills to contribute to the development of the country. We cannot blame the government always. I urge the government to provide more skill centers for the young people. If youths from other countries are making it here, why not us?”
He said if Gambian youths acquire skills, the money they earn remains in the country rather than allowing it to go to other countries.