Today, Abdel Hamid dreams of living the rest of his days in Egypt and spending his time with his two young children in peace and prosperity, but only a year ago Mr. Hamid was still in the midst of his international journey through Turkey, Greece, and the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean.
Pressured by the economic situation in the country, Mr. Hamid was attracted to the idea of migration, hoping that all his problems would be solved as soon as he reached European soil. A 40-year-old man from Meet Sehl, a city in rural Egypt, he decided to take the perilous journey when he was approached by a smuggler who convinced him that the journey to Europe was an easy one. Not long after, Mr. Hamid was on a plane and on his way to Turkey, where he would work in a paint factory. His economic status was stable until the 2016 coup attempt, which shook the country’s economic stability. It was then that he decided to get a place on a boat to Greece, where he hoped life would be better.
The journey was perilous, and Mr. Hamid witnessed the death of others as they attempted to reach the promising shores of Europe. As soon as they entered the territorial waters of Greece, he and the other passengers were captured by rescue boats. When asked if he was subjected to any kind of exploitation, he said: “They treated us awfully until we were sent to a detention [centre] on the Island of Mytilene.” Once there, he was offered food, water, and clothes. He was then approached by IOM’s AVRR team in coordination with the Greek Ministry of Interior, and after being found eligible, was approved for a reintegration grant of 1500EUR.
Upon his return, Mr. Hamid explored the sectors with that were most needed in his hometown, with the support of IOM counseling sessions, and decided to open a fodder shop to support friends and families that already owned dairy farms. For him, such product will be in demand as long as there is a demand for dairy, and it is continuously sold in his rural hometown where the percentage of livestock is very high. When asked about the extent to which IOM’s assistance helped his psychological, economic. And social well-being, he said: “Without IOM’s support I would […] still [be] struggling in a Greek detention center.”