Malick: the Tailor

One day he had an idea. He spoke about it with the youngest among other nearby tailors. They decided to form a cooperative.

Every afternoon, for many years, when Malick came home from school, he would go to his father’s tailor shop and help as best he could. At first, he would do the cleaning, tidy up material or deliver orders. He then started sewing. He sat at the machine that one of the apprentices released and sewed the scraps together. Over time, he became an expert tailor. By the time he finished secondary school, he knew practically all the secrets of good tailoring.

Malick left for the capital to study at the university. During the holidays he would return to his small town and spend hours in his father’s shop helping to fill orders. In this way, he earned the money which allowed him to continue his studies without being a burden to his parents. He confesses that he liked the job. Oddly, his studies had nothing to do with this; he had chosen something completely different.

He has a degree in Marketing and Business Management. He then earned a master’s degree. In the end, like many other university students, he could not find a job and while waiting for one, he continued to work in his father’s tailoring business. Many friends encouraged him to migrate, to cross the desert in search of opportunities that he could not find close to home. But Malick didn’t listen to them, he said he wanted to thrive in his own country.

One day he had an idea. He told other young tailors in the area about it. He immediately gained their trust and removed their doubts. They decided to found a cooperative. They wrote a charter and formed a board of directors, of which Malick is the president.

He knows what he points out: “90% of the fashion industry in this country is informal. There are hundreds of tailors everywhere and there are many people who request our services, such as uniforms when the school year begins or is approaching and also around important holidays. The fact that they are unregistered companies prevents them from growing and accessing finance. “

The cooperative helps them to do just that, to obtain microcredits to expand the business and so be able to hire more people. They have also opened a boutique in the capital where they exhibit the creations of their members.

But Malick took it one step further and used computers to promote products. A website and social networks allowed him to reach many other people. The next goal, he says, will be to explore the possibility of online sales, which in the country is still in its infancy.

Yes, those studies that had nothing to do with the profession he learned as a child, combined with the lack of jobs that affects most of the young people in his country, have turned into an initiative that generates income and work for many people. Malick had the courage to persevere and find a better life for all who believed in him.

(Chema Caballero)