The Christian Science Monitor

EU message for migrants: You can live the Gambian dream – in Gambia

A youth center in Bansang, The Gambia, a town four hours west of the capital, has been hard hit by emigration. Source: Ryan Lenora Brown/The Christian Science Monitor

The Story was a magnet. The Story was a compass. And in Jalamang Danso’s hometown, The Story was dragging all of the young men away.

The Story went like this: If you wanted to make a better life for your family, you had to leave. You had to cross the desert. You had to cross the sea. You had to get to Europe.

“People will say, this country is dry. There is no promise here,” says Omar Jammeh, who leads a job-creation program here in Janjanbureh, an island in the Gambia River four hours drive west of the capital Banjul. “The only promise is in Europe.”

Mr. Danso believed it. In the pictures his old school friends sent back from their new homes in Sweden and Germany and Italy, they posed in tidy suburban streets, captured scooping piles of snow into their mittened hands or leaning against gleaming new cars. “They looked fresh,”

Crafting a counternarrative

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