Alma is very busy all day long. She wakes up early in the morning and goes to a professional culinary class. In the afternoon she does an internship in a restaurant serving traditional Albanian food, while in the evening and in her spare time she looks for a job.
Alma completed the compulsory school cycle, and although she would have liked to pursue her studies further, she was forced to drop out as her family could not afford her studies. At home, she helped her mother with the housework but the family relations were always tense.
She eventually left Albania in March 2015 and migrated to Italy to study and build up a future, for herself and her brother, towards whom she displays great affection. She went to live with her aunt in Genoa but unfortunately, the aunt was unable to take care of her since her husband had been diagnosed with cancer.
Since Alma did not have any other relatives who could help her, she ended up being hosted at a reception centre for minors. During almost six months of her stay there, she established good relations with her peers and the social workers. Today, she carefully keeps a few letters she received from them after she left.
Alma would have liked to stay in Italy but soon realized this was not an option anymore. She therefore pursued an assisted voluntary return option facilitated by IOM, which supported her return by covering her culinary class tuition fees, and her internship at a restaurant and part of the rental fees.
“I hope I can find soon a job in a restaurant, so that I can be independent; I can continue my studies and be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a professional cook. This dream seemed impossible to me a few months ago. Now, thanks to the help I received from IOM and “Different and Equal” NGO, it seems an exciting challenge.”