Posted on: 2017/8/10 12:18

Baby Ayla was stranded in Egypt after her mother's life came to an unexpected end.

Tragedy leaves very little room for silver linings, but every once in a while, in the wake of a disaster, hope and life are born. Ayla Camile’s story is one such example.

Ayla’s mother was a Filipina domestic worker in Cairo, whose life came to an unexpected end due to severe medical complications. With her only guardian and caregiver gone, Ayla, an infant, was left utterly alone in a foreign land. Thus began the journey of Ayla’s return to the Philippines. After having received the case, the Embassy of the Philippines joined forces with the United States State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) project named “NOAH III,” which provides direct assistance to victims of trafficking and other vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied migrant children, in Egypt, Sudan and Libya. The remains of Ayla’s mother were returned to the Philippines.

Gears were set in motion and the dynamic partnership between her Embassy and IOM's Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) services meant swift strides in the journey of Ayla’s return home. From IOM pre-departure medical screening, to providing baby Ayla and her embassy staff escort’s return tickets and essential items like pampers and baby milk, the process was a long but prompt one.

On the chilly morning of the 10th February, 2016 Ayla Camile was returned to her the arms of her kin, with nothing but an air of innocence and a slight cough and runny nose, for which IOM accompanied her to the doctor.

Today, Ayla is a happy, healthy baby growing at her Manilla home, in the warmth of her grandmother’s presence.

Posted on: 2017/7/17 01:28

Fathy was able to create a prosperous future for both him and his family.

Fathy was among 180,000 individuals arriving to the Greek border in 2016 in search of a more prosperous future. He considers himself to be one of the lucky people who not only survived such a traumatizing experience but also became a living example for many Egyptians who believe that irregular migration puts an end to all financial issues. With five sons and more than ten grandsons, Fathy left Egypt after failing to find a stable job.

With the help of a friend, Fathy had to pay more than $1500 to take an irregular route to Greece in the hope of having a better life that would guarantee a decent educational future for his grandsons. To his surprise, life on the other side of the Mediterranean was much more difficult than he had originally anticipated. Fathy ended up staying for several months in Greece without finding a job and life became increasingly more difficult without any family or friends.

Fathy had originally embarked on this journey for his grandchildren but with time he came to the realisation of the importance of being by their side. With the dire economic situation and lack of any emotional support, Fathy found it very difficult to continue living in Greece and wanted to return to Egypt. Several friends referred Fathy to the IOM office in Greece, where he entered the screening process. Thankfully, Fathy successfully earned a reintegration grant that not only allowed him to return to Egypt but also assisted him financially. This allowed him to reopen his butcher shop and buy two camels that tremendously improved the shop operations and alleviated the family’s situation.

Despite the few job opportunities in his home country, Fathy was able to create a prosperous future for both him and his family. Today, his shop is functioning better than ever before despite the high degree of competition around him.

Posted on: 2017/7/03 08:36

Fatima* is a Sudanese woman, who is the breadwinner of her whole family, including the sick mother and younger siblings. Unable to find a suitable job at home, she decided to migrate to Egypt.

Once Fatima voluntarily expressed interest to return to Sudan, IOM presented her with the option of Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration.

“IOM assisted me in Egypt and back in Sudan, Thank you all”

After working for some time in Egypt, she became unemployed and approached IOM for assistance. Initially, IOM provided her with assistance to meet basic needs for four months under the Direct Assistance Programme.

Once Fatima voluntarily expressed the interest to return to Sudan, IOM presented her with the option of Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration. IOM assessed her eligibility to benefit from the programme and took care of the entire process of her return. Moreover, IOM offered reintegration assistance to help her to restart her life in Sudan and meet the needs of her family.

Upon her return, Fatima met with IOM Sudan and used the offered assistance to purchase fabrics for making curtains and bedsheets. Successively, she sold the manufactured textile products in her small village. In addition, IOM provided extra assistance to Fatima to cover two months’ rent for the entire family, allowing her to settle and start generating income from the new business to support her family.

IOM is still in touch with Fatima and her business is doing well.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the beneficiary

Posted on: 2016/11/29 01:00

We all know that timeless saying: “Old is gold”. This was quite literally the case for Mr. Beshoi Abdallah, whose old fortune lied in the gold markets of Egypt until the year of 2011. His family had been in the gold trading business for several decades, but unfortunately, the family-run store was broken into and robbed in the aftermath of the January 25th revolution.

We all know that timeless saying: “Old is gold”. This was quite literally the case for Mr. Beshoi Abdallah, whose old fortune lied in the gold markets of Egypt until the year of 2011. His family had been in the gold trading business for several decades, but unfortunately, the family-run store was broken into and robbed in the aftermath of the January 25th revolution.

Cracking underneath the strain of a worsening economic situation and the deterioration of his mother’s health condition, Mr. Beshoi and his family decided to leave Egypt and head out in search of a second chance to eke out a better standard of living for themselves.

In 2013, Mr. Beshoi and his mother flew into Europe’s fields of blooming color, the Netherlands, where Mr. Beshoi was able to secure a job as a construction worker. However, they soon discovered that living in the Netherlands was nothing like they had expected. The living expenses far exceeded the income Mr. Beshoi was making from his job in the construction field and once again, he found himself underneath a mounting pressure of debt and bills that he needed to cover by the end of each month.

After struggling to make ends meet for almost one year in the Netherlands, Mr. Beshoi decided to contact IOM and apply for an AVRR grant that would allow him to return to his country of origin with confidence. Under the auspices of IOM Hague, he was provided with in-kind assistance amounting close to 1,500 Euros.

Several years after the family’s return to Cairo, IOM conducted a short interview with Mr. Beshoi to follow up on the results of the AVRR grant. He said that “Without IOM’s valuable assistance, I would not have taken the decision to return and remain in Egypt.” The grant gave him a chance to shift his career from construction to transportation. He currently owns a taxi and says he is very happy to have been able to restart his life back home.

Posted on: 2016/11/01 10:56

Barikisu's story is one that is both unique and striking. Her migration story highlights the importance of persevering in adversity. Perseverance - it is the fuel that drives the human engine beyond all seemingly insurmountable ordeals in life. It is the state of continuing to exist in spite of all the difficult circumstances we may encounter on our journey in and out of this world. As human beings, our ability to bear up defines our capacity to positively impact our future, and nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in the individual stories of migrants who have been able to transform their grim present into a promising future.

Barikisu's story is one that is both unique and striking. Her migration story highlights the importance of persevering in adversity. Perseverance - it is the fuel that drives the human engine beyond all seemingly insurmountable ordeals in life. It is the state of continuing to exist in spite of all the difficult circumstances we may encounter on our journey in and out of this world. As human beings, our ability to bear up defines our capacity to positively impact our future, and nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in the individual stories of migrants who have been able to transform their grim present into a promising future.

This is the story of Barikisu; a woman who hails from the Upper West region of Ghana. She had initially set out to start a family, but after the father of her child refused to marry her, Barikisu found herself struggling to make ends meet. Her elder sister had returned from Egypt to Ghana for a holiday and encouraged her to get a passport claiming that she had a medical condition requiring treatment. Facing economic pressures, Barikisu accepted this offer and decided to spend all her money to buy herself out of Ghana. She used her life savings to pay for the visa and plane ticket.

Upon arriving in Egypt, Barikisu was employed as a housekeeper and babysitter, but her employers soon found out about the pretended illness listed on her passport and decided to lay her off. Once again, Barikisu found herself stranded in an unfamiliar country with absolutely no means of support. She struggled to find herself a stable job and whatever little income she made out of seasonal employment went into her sister’s pockets instead of her own. After three years of endless turmoil and oppression, Barikisu became hell-bent on returning to Ghana. She was well aware of the dire financial situation which hindered her return andhad recently heard about IOM ,so she decided to reach out for assistance.

IOM concluded that Barikisu qualified for assistance and immediately started arranging for her return to Ghana. IOM also provided her with in-kind assistance to start her micro-business back home. Since she already had some experience with trade, Barikisu chose to continue in the same field. Her siblings helped her furnish her old store and Barikisu used the IOM in-kind assistance to buy and transport groceries from Accra to her village. At this point, she is performing very well and already has plans for expansion. Barikisu has increased her level of stock and took up a loan from a local group in order to buy a deep freezer for more storage. Not only has she been able to break even, but she has also started making profit. As a result, Barikisu can now support her daughter’s education and give her siblings a helping hand. “My life has improved and the impact I have on my community is great. I serve them with a variety of groceries right at their doorstep,” she said. She also stated that the general public admires her because of her relationship with them and her dedication towards her business.

She noted that the IOM assistance was an eye-opener for her and confirmed that it had definitely strengthened her economic situation. Her word of advice to the Ghanaian community in Egypt is that “they should come back with a plan of action and their situation will surely improve.”

AVRR Egypt is composed of our core support teams that work tirelessly to support the return and reintegration of migrants. If you would like to contribute or request more information about this programme, please get in touch with us via , or .

Data from 2011 – 2015 includes Return only. Data from 2016 – 2018 includes Return and Reintegration.

This AVRR Map was designed and developed pro bono by SilverKey Technologies