By Olimatou Coker
The 10th International Youth ‘Bantaba’ of The Gambia Red Cross Society ended Sunday in Siffoe village – Kombo South.
Supported by the EU, IOM and the Youth Empowerment Project, “Bantaba” is a biannual platform where young volunteers gather to learn, share ideas and experiences and carve out ways of addressing humanitarian needs.
By the theme changing minds changing lives, this year’s Bantaba attracts several international Red Cross Societies, including from Senegal and Italy.
Issues like migration, entrepreneurship and leadership were discussed, during the ten-day forum at a senior school in Siffoe.
Kabir Cham, the president of the Gambia Red Cross, who spoke on migration and other issues, said: “Migration constitutes a global social issue that should be addressed not only through transnational cooperation, but through coordinated action and policies of a state. Legal frameworks should take into consideration to address problems that arise such as social exclusion, racism and xenophobia.”
Cham said it is high time people and governments seek “better fortunes”.
“…A blanket prevention of migrants would not be a viable solution, as vast majority of economic migrants come from countries that are facing economic break down, unemployment and political instability.
“In the area of migration, the Red Cross and the International Federation will continue to address humanitarian concerns of migrants, their protection upholding of their rights and dignity and empower them to search for opportunities and sustainable solutions.”
Buba Darboe, acting Secretary of the movement, said this year’s Bantaba was both innovative and enthusiastic.
“Issues discussed during the last 10 days will shape young people and the Gambia Red Cross Society, and it challenges participants to take the activities of the convergence seriously in order to enhance their capacity to represent The Gambia locally and internationally.”
Another speaker Njogou Jeng said young people are willing to confront challenges underpinning them by addressing underlying root causes and contributing factors to youth irregular migration in The Gambia.
Buba Singateh, delivered the vote of thanks.