By Nelson Manneh
Child and youth empowerment and development organisation, The Rural Child (RC) in partnership with West Coast Region Migration Information Center (MIC) last Saturday conducted the second edition of their Moonlight Storytelling at Tubakuta Village, Kombo East District.
With funding from the International Organization for Migration (IOM)-Gambia office, the Moonlight Storytelling is an activity intended to change behaviours and concepts of young people, particularly those in rural Gambia on irregular migration.
It is also intended to strengthen the relationship between the MIC and the affiliated communities on migration and its related issues, help young people to draw moral lessons from the stories, remind the participants about the dangers of irregular migration, promote excellence in informal education and support the participants with learning aids for growth and development and redirect the positive mindset of the participants.
Other partners in the activity included the Gambia National Youth Council through and the Migrants as Messengers (MAM) project.
In May, the first Moonlight Storytelling was held at Mandinaba where Muhammed Kuyateh, a griot from the community, led the storytelling, while a member of the Migrants as Messengers shared experience that he and other young people encountered on the journey and culminated into campfire.
Sulayman Darboe, programme officer of The Rural Child, said the Moonlight Storytelling is an activity that is intended to remind young people about the dangers associated with irregular migration.
He said they also hoped that the activity will bring back to life some of the lost glories in communities that have contributed in reminding children about the order of things, which included storytelling.
Migration officer at the West Coast Region Migration Information Center (MIC), Binta LY Touray, said they are glad to see young people embracing the idea of the moonlight storytelling, saying they believed that it has the potential to change lives and some misconceptions about irregular migration.
Mamina Jallow and Awa M Bah, migrant returnees with the Migrants as Messengers (MAM) project, both explained tales of torture and suffering they went through during their journey that ended unsuccessful.
“We were exposed to infections and harassment. The worst thing about my journey was that the only boy who was supporting me while in the canoe ended up dying,” Awa M Bah told the gathering.
She reminded the young people that they all owe it to their nation and the people because they never prayed for what happened to them on the journey to happen to any of their sisters or brothers.
Awa said she was already a successful young entrepreneur before embarking on the journey but peer influence led her into the journey when her business collapsed.