Strength of Spirit

Posted on: 2019/9/29 07:36

“I wouldn’t put my family or any of my children through this again. I had the worst experience of my life and I’m grateful that I am back now with my family. The income that we have might not be great, but we have each other. “

Mr. Eid Gomaa returned to Egypt from Libya in December 2017. For the past twenty years, Eid was traveling back and forth to Libya, working there as a plumber. Work in Libya was easy to find; he had his own connections and the travel conditions were always safe. After the situation changed in Libya and the conflict erupted, it became a hazard to take the usual route by road to reach his final destination Tripoli. With travel restrictions in place, Eid’s financial circumstances deteriorated back home in Egypt. He needed to travel again to find a better source of income and collect a convenient sum of money to support his family in Egypt. Mr Eid and three other Egyptians from the town of Etsa in Fayoum governorate paid an amount of 15,000 EGP to a smuggler who arranged transportation to war-town Libya. This time was, however, the start of a very dangerous journey. Shortly after crossing the border, Mr Eid and the others from his village were caught and held hostage by traffickers who called their families demanding ransom money. They were then sold to a gang who took them to Misrata where they were stopped by the police and sent to a detention center. In the detention center, conditions were very difficult. Crammed in with another 500 detainees of different nationalities, they spent two months with very little food and medical attention. IOM then approached the detention center asking if any of the detainees were willing to return to their country of origin. Mr Eid and the others from Etsa expressed their will to return to Egypt. With the help of IOM, they safely arrived back to Etsa after 8 months in Libya by a commercial light arranged by IOM and joined their families who were happy and grateful for this reunification after spending months under extreme stress and tension. Upon return, Mr Eid contacted IOM’s office in Cairo to receive his reintegration assistance amounting to 1000 EUR. After consulting with a caseworker at IOM, he decided to use the assistance to buy livestock in the form of a group of goats. He preferred goats over cows because the income generated from goat herding is typically faster and more lucrative. The project helped Mr Eid support himself and his family and served as a replacement to the income he used to receive from his travels working in Libya. It helped the family, in a way, to become self-sufficient. His wife and children are taking part in helping with the project, feeding the livestock and collecting the dairy produced. To improve their income and expand it, Mr Eid gave a part of the income to his wife to start a small home-based business buying clothing and selling them to other woman within their community. His wife arranges with her neighbors to facilitate the payments by receiving them in installments. Mr Eid and his family are now settled, content with the current situation and have no future plans of traveling back to Libya.

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