“One of my main goals when I decided to migrate was the opportunity to change my life and that of my family,” twenty-seven-year-old Shukrya says. “However, once you leave your country, things are not as you imagined them to be. And, in my case, nothing turned out as planned.”
Upon her arrival in Libya four years ago, Shukrya worked as a domestic helper, but her employer never paid for her work. The situation around her neighbourhood also deteriorated - women were being raped, people were subject to attacks and burglaries. Finally, Shukrya ran away.
As her life in Libya had still not brought her stability, Shukrya turned to a smuggler who promised to take her to Europe. Along with other migrants, Shukrya waited for a month, without food or shelter, waiting for the smuggler to fulfil his promise. She soon realized her money had been pocketed and the smuggler would not come back to take her to Europe. This was when a fellow Ethiopian told her about the International Organization for Migration (IOM) return services.
Three weeks after registering at the IOM office, Shukrya was set to return to Ethiopia. With IOM assistance and funding provided by the European Union, she returned home safely in January 2018 after four years in Libya. As she did not have a way to support herself, IOM provided her with a grant to fulfil her wish to work in retail. She found a good location to sell her wares and, in May this year, received Basic Business Skill training from WISE, a non-governmental organization for Women in Self-Employment working with IOM, to help run her business.
“I am very happy to be back in my country and glad to finally be able to support myself,” she says.
About her experience as a migrant, Shukrya says: “Not everything you learn is from books and school and I learned a lot from my experience. After I returned, I also learned that I can work hard in my own country and be successful. Although some of the challenges I faced were worth it in hindsight and shaped me to become who I am today, I still would not advise anyone to take the path that I took then”.