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When I lived in Haiti, I used to study business management. In 2010, the earthquake struck and a year later the situation became very difficult for young people. It wasn’t easy for us to continue our studies.
This is when we found a religious organization that worked there and had links with Ecuador. They were dedicated to helping young Haitians who wished to continue their studies by offering them a scholarship. We would only have to pay for the flights. My family realized this was a great opportunity and made all the efforts possible to gather enough money for the ticket, which cost almost 2,000 US Dollars.
I had never thought I would move to another country. In fact, I was always more interested in contributing to the development of Haiti by helping those who need it the most. However, given the conditions, I accepted to come to Ecuador. My plan was to study here and go back to Haiti with all the knowledge I would have acquired.
Unfortunately, when we arrived in Ecuador the organization had deceived us and kept all of our money. I had entered the country with a tourist visa which would soon expire so I sought help from many institutions and was eventually given a contract to work in a dietary sugar processing plant.
I worked there for almost two years but I eventually had to leave because I had no papers. My objective was, however, to keep studying. With great effort, I managed to get into university and continue my studies in business management. I then I found a part-time job and I am now in my fourth year at university.
Then I found the Human Mobility Unit of the Provincial Government of Pichincha where I received the legal advice I needed and through the project implemented with the support of the *Joint Migration and Development Initiative, the Unit team pointed me in the right direction and helped me get the visa I needed to ensure my papers were all in order.
My goal is to return to Haiti and contribute to its development. Haiti is a country where some people still live in slavery – not physically, but psychologically. We are out of the world’s reality; it is as if we were disconnected. In this sense, my migratory process has taught me a lot about what I can do to contribute to my country’s development.
Now, Ecuador is my second home. There is a writer who says: “a country that gives you education, that gives you food, even for a short while, is also your home”. I thank Ecuador because this has been a great country for me and I feel like I have also been able to help because I have been teaching French to groups of people both in my church and my university.
This experience has left its mark on me. It has taught me that migration is something anyone in the world could experience at some point during their life. It means leaving your country and living in a different culture. It means diving into a new reality and picking yourself up every time you fall.
*The Joint Migration and Development Initiative is an inter-agency programme led by UNDP in collaboration with IOM, ITC-ILO, UNITAR, UNCHR, UN Women and UNFPA and financed by the European Commission and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.