returning home Written by Rafal Abdulateef/UN Migration Agency, 2018

"I traveled from Baghdad to Turkey with my wife and little daughter. We had to stay in Turkey for 12 days because our agreement with the smugglers fell through; they had no intention to take us to Germany, they were only after our money. We eventually found someone else to smuggle us into Germany, a country I had long wished to settle in," said Abdul Mohaimen, an Iraqi migrant who travelled to Europe in September 2015.

"Our journey took us from Turkey to a Greek island, and then to Macedonia and Serbia. It was a long journey, and we had to walk for a long time through rough roads,"

"We were finally able to cross from Austria into Germany. But there I faced many challenges, not the least of which the language barrier and cultural differences. We initially lived in a camp and a month later we moved into an apartment and started the residence request procedures, but our request was rejected. When my father passed away and my mother fell ill, I decided to go back to Iraq; we returned in June 2017,"

Photo: Rafal Abdulateef/UN Migration Agency, 2018

"I went back empty-handed, depressed and jobless, as I had spent and sold everything we had to make the trip. I fruitlessly looked for a job for over five months. I was then invited by IOM to meet with IOM staff and other returnees. There I met other people who were in the same situation and we were able to discuss how to best look for a job and get back on our feet. The moral support I received there meant a lot to me. This encounter was followed by an individual meeting with IOM staff, where I was able to explain in more detail my background and previous sales representative experience,"

Photo: Rafal Abdulateef/UN Migration Agency, 2018

"Shortly afterwards IOM set up a meeting for me with a potential employer, for an electrical equipment company. The meeting went well; arrangements were made and I got the job as a salesman. I can now support my family; I also have new friends and am improving my qualifications, having enrolled in an English language course. I also want to learn Microsoft office programs so I can manage the company when my boss is away or busy with other things,"

Photo: Rafal Abdulateef/UN Migration Agency, 2018

"I have also put to use what I learned in Germany, such as how to deal with customers and organize my time and materials. I feel I am developing my career and my life, in my country."

IOM’s assistance to Abdul Mohaimen 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).

Photo: Rafal Abdulateef/UN Migration Agency, 2018


Story and pictures by Rafal Al Rawi

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