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Rebuilding a Life from scratch Written by Raber Y. Aziz/UN Migration Agency, 2018

“It was during Ramadan in 2016 when my wife, my brother and I went to Turkey by bus. From there we paid a smuggler to take us to Greece and Bulgaria. In Bulgaria we walked for two and a half days to reach Germany, but we were caught by the Bulgarian police and put in jail for four days before being released. We decided to go to Germany by any means. I had heard that Germany was good to refugees," said Dler who migrated from Iraq to Germany in November 2016 in search of a better life for his family.

"We walked through forests during the cold season. We paid a lot of money to the smuggler, and spent a lot during the journey as well. I had a car in Iraq and I owned a store for repairing bicycles and motorbikes; I sold everything to collect US$20,000 and I spent every cent during the journey and during our six-month stay in Germany,” he added.

Photo: Raber Y. Aziz/UN Migration Agency, 2018
Photo: Raber Y. Aziz/UN Migration Agency, 2018

“We were in a refugee camp in Frankfurt for six months. I was trying to find a job but during this time my child, who was born there, got sick several times and we were often in hospitals; it was a very stressful time for me. On top of it, my brother was moved to another camp, seven hours away from us. That made us all very frustrated. And then my mother had an accident here in Iraq, which forced me to come back. I contacted IOM to support my return and we returned from Germany after about seven months,”

IOM assisted Dler and his wife with their travel back to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and helped Dler to re-open his bicycle and motorbike repair shop in Dohuk.

Photo: Raber Y. Aziz/UN Migration Agency, 2018

“When I returned, I had to start from scratch, but thanks to this store I did not have to struggle a lot. I am working here five days a week and on the weekends, I go to Erbil to buy parts and bicycles at wholesale prices, which are lower than prices here in Duhok, and sell them in my store. I have spare parts as well as accessories; young boys especially like horns and LED lights for their bicycles and motorbikes,"

Photo: Raber Y. Aziz/UN Migration Agency, 2018

"I have daily customers and what I make here is enough to support my wife and two children. I can save some money too. If things go well I will expand the store and buy more spare parts and items.”

IOM’s assistance to Dler was funded by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the German Corporation for International Development (GIZ) and the German Center for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration in Iraq (GMAC).

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Raber Y. Aziz/UN Migration Agency, 2018

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