“My name is Ahmed Wali Mahmood and I came to Greece in January 2017 with my two children, Bereevan and Heryard. My daughter is 11 years old and my son is 6. We left our home country due to a serious family issue and began our journey from Erbil, Iraq. Turkey was our first stop, then the Greek island of Samos and finally Athens, where we stayed in an open accommodation center run by the NGO “Praksis” for almost a year.
Leaving your home country is never easy, especially when you have a good job and a decent income. I was running a butcher shop, selling chicken for more than 24 years. Here in Greece, it is very difficult to find a good job. Furthermore I want my children to go to school. While we were staying in Athens, some family members from Erbil informed us that our family problem was solved. I can't say more, since it is very personal.
But it was was actually good news for me and my children. We started thinking about returning home, so I called IOM to find out more details about voluntary returns. All IOM staff were really helpful and we booked an appointment very quickly. Since I have experience as a butcher, we discussed the possibility of getting a reintegration package, which will allow me to operate my small business again. My IOM counsellor was positive and now not only I am ready to return to my home country, but I can also start working again. My children are also very happy since they can look forward going back to school.”