When Mamadi Susso left the Gambia in 2015 at age 19, he was fleeing a dictatorship and tough economic conditions. Jobs and opportunities for youth in the West African nation are rare, and many people can’t depend on having regular meals.
With a dream of becoming an entrepreneur, Susso risked the dangerous journey across the desert and the sea in search of work opportunities abroad.
He sends on average €200 to his family in the Gambia each month. That’s equal to 12,430 Gambian dalasi, equal to about $240 and six times higher than the monthly salary of a person with an entry-level government job.
“I decided to take the risk to travel to Europe through the back way in order to take my family out of extreme poverty,” he says, a phrase Gambians use for irregular migration routes.
After spending three months in Italy, Susso arrived in the summer of 2016 in the southwestern German town of Weinheim, where he applied for asylum.
“I came from a very humble background, where it was very difficult to cater for regular meals,” says Susso, who represented his village in football tournaments and had dreamed of becoming a professional footballer. Now 24, he has a wide smile and just plays football for fun. “My dream is to build a good house for my family and to establish a viable transportation business in the Gambia.”