“Given the touchy subjects of my books, my wife Julieta, my 22-year-old son Giorgi and myself decided to leave Georgia for Poland in 2013.
I managed to write two books during the four years that we were in Poland, and one of them was even published in Georgia. My wife, however, couldn’t find a job, my son was unable to continue his studies, and our asylum request was rejected. We started to feel unsafe and decided to head to France.
But the authorities wanted to deport us back to Poland, so we had to pack our stuff and move once again. This time we headed to Greece, passing through Italy. We first stayed at the port of Igoumenitsa in Epirus. We were then transferred to Thessaloniki, where we lived in a hotel for a few months.
We decided not to apply for asylum in Greece, and rather to move back to Georgia. IOM’s Assisted voluntary return programme (AVRR) is the ideal solution for us. IOM also informed us about the reintegration package, which will facilitate our reintegration into the Georgian economy and society. IOM will also cover part of our rent in Tbilisi, which was added motivation for us.
We love our country very much and are excited to have moved back. I will continue writing and my wife, whose favourite composer is Beethoven, will resume her music teaching career. She has extensive experience teaching in Georgian schools. My son will also be able to pursue his passion for computers and continue his IT studies.
Prior to our return, we stayed for a few weeks in the Open Accommodation Center for AVRR (OCAVRR) beneficiaries. OCAVRR is a decent place to live, with good food and nice people. We left Greece with pleasant memories, but our future is in Georgia. Our dream is to move to a small Georgian village and start a family business”.