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Seizing the opportunities that my brother didn’t have

Ein junger Mann und eine junge Frau sitzen sich an einem Tisch gegenüber und sprechen miteinander.
Abdoulaye at an advisory session at the CSAEM.

Seizing the opportunities that my brother didn’t have

My name is Abdoulaye. I'm 27 years old and I come from Vélingara, which is a town in the south of Senegal. I recently received my school leaving certificate. Vélingara doesn’t have a university, so I have enrolled in an online law course starting next semester.

Last year, the youth association in my town informed me that the Senegalese-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (CSAEM) was offering a training course in Vélingara on the subject of entrepreneurship. I took part in it, along with 20 other young people. After that, I attended another course in screen printing arranged by our regional youth committee. These two training courses gave me the urge to design something of my own. I started with a logo inspired by the name of my favourite rap group “fuk n kuk”. Doing this made me really happy. I then had the logo printed on T-shirts, jumpers, trousers and jackets.

The next goal: my own screen printing machine

People liked what I had done, so I asked myself why not make a business out of it? So I began to print and sell small quantities of clothing. Lots of people placed orders: boys, girls, my teachers and my father – he was my first customer. Many couples ordered T-shirts for Valentine's Day and had each other’s name printed on the back. I’m still not making much profit with the T-shirts – in actual fact the opposite.

 

I have to take on some unskilled work as a bricklayer to finance my project. Unfortunately I still don’t have my own machine to print the clothing. I would have to travel all the way to Kolda for that, which is more than 120 kilometres from Vélingara. My parents support me, and now and then they give me some money. My mother makes little brooms, so she knows from her own experience how difficult it is to sell products you’ve made yourself.

Ein junger Mann und eine junge Frau mit farbigen T-Shirts posieren für die Kamera.
Abdoulaye has T-shirts and other items of clothing printed with the logo that he developed himself.

Lots of people in Vélingara are unemployed. Most young people start off studying, but many give it up and work as farmers. Even my older brother Ibrahima had to interrupt his studies to earn money for the family. He is very supportive, because he wants me to have better opportunities in life than he did.

In-depth course on starting a business

I would like to start a small business and create jobs for people from my town. A couple of them already help me from time to time, for instance when the clothing I've ordered is delivered. My aim is to reduce the unemployment rate in Vélingara. And I'd like my brand “Laye Kanareuw” to become well known. A local brand that comes from Senegal and is worn far and wide!

I spoke with my CSAEM advisor in Dakar today. She wants to help me get my own screen printing machine. One of the centre’s partners, the Senegal National Youth Employment Agency (ANPEJ), receives funding from the German Ministry of Development for getting local people into the workforce. There is one requirement which I have to meet to be eligible for money from this fund: I have to attend an in-depth course on starting a business that lasts five days. The centre is referring me to one of these courses, and I’m really looking forward to this new opportunity. It will bring me a little closer to my goal.

I’d like to say to other young people, don't wait around for someone to come and help you. Develop your own project!

As of: 02/2021

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

Learn more >
Don't wait around for someone to come and help you. Develop your own project!
Abdoulaye