Photo credit: IOM/Uduak Amimo
"My family gave me money to leave Ethiopia in May 2017 and go to South Africa. I completed grade 12 but I could not join university; so my father decided to sell the one ox we had to help me because I was always thinking about why I wasn't in school, and they decided to send me out.
The money to go to South Africa came from my uncle. I asked them to gived me the money to go to university instead but they said no, that I should first come and work in order to support the others.
On my way, I spent one month in Kenya and Tanzania, and then eight months in prison in Malawi because I had entered the country illegally. I would not migrate again because I saw many problems like hunger; some of the people died during the journey and I do not want to go in such a way. Irregular migration is not recommended. Even my elder brother wanted to migrate to South Africa but because of my experience, he has decided not to go. I am raising awareness in the community regarding the bad aspects of migration.
IOM helped me return to Ethiopia in December 2017. They helped me with transportation right up to my hometown, and gave me clothes.
When I came back, I opened a shop to sell things like soft drinks, soap and pasta. The sign outside my shop says 'No credit this week' because I lost money by giving people credit.
In my area, there was no such shop like this before, if people wanted soft drinks they would have to go to the city. So by looking at what was missing here, I selected this business. Since there are no similar shops around here I will expand this business to other cities like Hosanna and become a wholesale distributor."
*Tigist’s father helped him rent accommodation and start the shop; through the EUTF he will receive soft drinks for distribution.