Sana is a young man from Pakistan who, after spending 1.5 year in Greece, decided to go back to his country as a beneficiary of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme, a core activity of IOM Greece.
“I come from a village not far from the city of Gujrat in Pakistan, but I used to live in Karachi, where I worked as a driver. I decided to migrate first to Saudi Arabia, where I spent 2.5 years but things didn’t work out for me so I went back to Pakistan.
I have heard so many stories about Greece: that it’s a beautiful country full of history, with great weather and nice people. I really wanted to come and so I did. I left 1.5 years ago from Pakistan. It took me 16 days to traverse Iran and Turkey, before crossing by boat to the island of Lesbos, in the midst of the refugee crisis. I used every means available to make the journey, I walked a lot. When leaving Pakistan, I thought it would be easy for me to get a job in Greece – although I’ve heard of the financial crisis, I was confident that, despite the difficulties, I’d find my way.
I ended up in the island of Crete, in the region of Iraklion, where I took various jobs in agriculture, working in fields and farms. I had a good time there, people have been nice to me and although one hears stories about migrant workers being taken advantage of, that was not my case. I also loved Iraklion city and particularly the port, beautiful and alive.
However, as time went by, I grew more and more homesick. My parents and my three siblings still live in our village and I want to be with them again. I’m also really glad that I will be able to start my own business with the assistance of IOM Greece, as a part of their Reintegration programme. I will start a pharmacy with the help of my uncle, who’s a pharmacist and he has trained me in the past. So, I feel optimistic about my future in Pakistan.
You know, most Pakistanis feel very much at home in Greece – I hope I will be back some day!”
The project "The implementation of Assisted Voluntary Returns including Reintegration measures" (AVRR) is co-funded 75% by Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and 25% by Greek Ministry of Interior.