Meet Ebrima Saidy, The Deaf Barber Breaking Down Barriers
In Fajikunda, along the Banjul/Brikama highway, one barber has been catching the eye of clients with his exquisite work.
Ebrima Saidy, 25, is deaf, but his hearing impairment is the least of his worries, as long as he does what he loves. “I’ve always believed in my skills to help myself and my family,” Ebrima tells The Chronicle through an interpreter. “I would’ve loved to be in school at this moment, but my parents don’t have the money to pay for my education’’.
Ebrima comes from an underprivileged family. His parents wanted him to live a normal life and attend school, but poverty forced his parents to pull him out from the school after his ninth grade. He started his formal education in a school for the deaf, but poverty forced his parents to pull him out from the school after his ninth grade. Ebrima then began doing carpentry work before starting a barbering salon in 2010. “After dropping out of school, I couldn’t sit at home doing nothing,” he said. “I am from an extended family. My father has four wives and I needed to do some work to financially support myself and my family.”.
Today, the skills he has acquired serve as a testament to his sheer force of will. His barbering skills do not need verbal expression for his clientele. Blessed with a sharp memory, Ebrima remembers the hairstyles of his clients who would hardly need to instruct him on their preferences. “Though I have hair-cut posters that my clients can choose their styles from, most of them would let me choose for them, I can do any hair-style because I have them all in my mind,” he explains.
While Ebrima could not complete his formal education due to a lack of resources, he is making efforts to save more money to let his children study as they desire. He is the father of two daughters. “My first daughter is 3-years old and the second is just 8-months old. “I am working very hard to make sure they both receive good education and have decent jobs”.
Ebrima works around 12 hours a day to feed his family. On a good day, he comes home with D4,000. “It depends, sometimes I can sit for a whole day without a client. My best days are Sundays, that’s the day most workers shave their hair to look good for the week. I wish every day is a Sunday.” he smiles.