Sierra Leone is blessed with a youthful population, with 7 in 10 citizens below the age of 35, the impact of unemployment is not only on young people who do not have qualifications but increasingly, unemployment is common amongst those with diplomas and graduate-level qualifications. In 2021, during the post-pandemic, 32-year-old Sierra Leonean master’s holder, Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah started up the Al-Sidiq Tailoring and Fashion school in rural waterloo which seeks to provide skills for young people through employing 10 young Sierra Leoneans. The Al-Sidiq Tailoring and Fashion school Store and school in less than 2 years have expanded into a school and recently employed over 5 more people with students enrolled at the school. The Al-Sidiq Tailoring and Fashion school also offers Business planning, Business scaling, financial consultation, and management for clients across the world.
Early Life and Career
Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah, like many young people born and growing up in Sierra Leone, is taught that going to school, getting your degree, and masters, and working at the office is all you need to do to become successful. Whiles 32-year-old Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah fulfilled his family’s dream of becoming educated to the level of being a master’s holder. Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah has always believed that Skills are opportunities and opportunities provide jobs. “One of my key beliefs in Sierra Leone is that we can only elevate this country to a higher level through financial awareness and financial management which comes through skills,” he told Salone Messenger during an interview.
Early Life and Education
Born and grew up in Kono to a family of over 20 children, Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah is a 32-year-old Sierra Leonean entrepreneur, who holds a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Master in Finance from the International University of Africa and Sudan Academy for Banking and Financial Science in Khatoum, Sudan. Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah is the CEO and founder of the Al-Sidiq Tailoring and Fashion school offering employment for youth skilled enough in tailoring but lacking the avenues to engage themselves. Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah attended the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood where he completed his primary education and later proceeded to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary school where he completed his junior and senior secondary education. Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah was the head boy throughout his secondary and senior secondary education.
Early life and inspiration
Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah journey to entrepreneurship was not something he had dreamt of, his initial dream was to become a lawyer due to a sad experience growing up as a child “ When I was young, My mother was duped about $2,000 by a scammer, I was the one who gave the money to a scammer and knew everything that happened, the lawyer we went to couldn’t help, I was saddened by that experience and on my way home with my mother, I told her that I wanted to become a lawyer so that nobody in our family will go through this bad experience “ he told Salone Messenger. Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah was pushed by this experience to go into the arts stream in school in a bid to become a lawyer.
While at University in Sudan, Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah was exposed to financial awareness and financial knowledge, he nurtured the belief that if a country should develop, individuals, should believe that they have to be financially liberated. “If you want something, you should be able to get it, if you want to do something, you should be able to do it, this is my belief” he noted. Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah started off by creating social media handles and teaching young people about financial management and awareness under the name Money Teacher, through his platforms, hundreds of young people watched and were able to start up their own businesses.
Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah As An Entrepreneur
After graduating in 2020, Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah returned home and start up a restaurant that employs over 9 young people. A few weeks before Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah got married, he needed a wedding dress, after checking several tailoring shops in the country, Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah could not find the type of dress he needed. He had to go to Guinea to get the type of dress he needed. This saw an eye-opening for Abubakarr Al-Sidiq Fofanah, he decided to start up the Al-Sidiq Tailoring and Fashion school which employ over 15 young people who receive payment every two weeks. Al-Sidiq Tailoring and Fashion school do all types of dresses for weddings and any type of event while it serves as a school to train young people in tailoring.
Blessed with a youthful population, with 7 in 10 citizens being below the age of 35, the impact is not only on young people who do not have qualifications, but increasingly, unemployment is common amongst those with diplomas and graduate-level qualifications.
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