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Now that I’m a fashion designer, I’m leaving the past

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Now that I’m a fashion designer, I’m leaving the past

My name is Frank and I come from Nigeria. After I finished school, a man promised my mother that he would take me and my sister to Europe. He would find work for us and our family's life would improve. But our supposed journey to Europe led through the desert to Libya. We had been tricked by people smugglers.

In Libya we were abducted and separated from each other. For six whole months the criminals tried to get my parents to pay ransom money. I was released at some point because they simply couldn’t pay it. I ended up staying in Libya for another two years. I struggled along washing cars in Tripoli. But that wasn’t the life that I wanted. A friend told me that the Nigerian government was financing return flights for people like me. That’s how I was able to come back to Nigeria.

Frank taking measurements to tailor made-to-measure clothes.

A family business with my sister

Starting over again wasn’t easy. I took any casual jobs I could find just to be able to buy food. My sister, who in the meantime had also made it back to Nigeria, told me about the Nigerian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (NGC). She had completed a training course in tailoring there.

I went to them for advice. I had always been interested in fashion, so I decided I would sign up for the 12-week tailoring course as well. We learned how to take measurements and handle a sewing machine. My sister and I joined forces after I finished the course. We set up our own made-to-measure tailoring business. The NGC helped us to register the business. It enabled us to buy sewing machines and accessories and helped us to apply for a rental subsidy.

Frank has found a career that he really enjoys.

My sister makes women's and baby clothing and I specialise in men’s fashion. Now I’m a proud fashion designer. After my time in Libya, I know all too well that there’s nothing like being in your home country. I have my peace of mind here and I can develop myself. I would advise anyone seeking their fortune elsewhere not to get involved in an illegal journey. What you’re looking for is already here. Our youth is the future of Nigeria. Take advantage of the opportunities here and together we’ll make our country better.

Date: 07/2021

The opportunities for advice and assistance described here are offered as part of “Returning to New Opportunities”.

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What you’re looking for is already here. Our youth is the future of Nigeria.

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