My daughter, Rosamond Erica Johnson, embarked on the backway journey to Europe and returned home in 2018. When she came back, I was happy because she came back alive.
When she decided to return, it was her choice. This is why she didn’t face many challenges; I didn’t want her to regret her return because those are the things that are damaging a returnee the most. I welcomed her back with open arms.
Based on the causalities I was hearing, I was happy when she returned. People were dying, people were disappearing, people were manhandled, beaten and brutalized.
I supported her upon return. First of all, I counselled her, telling her that leaving for the backway and coming back home is not the end of the world. Since I am her mother, this was very helpful. We used to sit together in the evening, I told her some local stories. I showed her some people who faced challenges but persisted. I gave her my own side of my story. I said: “Look at me. I am still alive. I am still moving on.”
With this in mind, Rosamond started to volunteer with her peers to sensitize young people about the dangers of irregular migration. This was making an impact in her life. It was a great lesson that all is not lost. Female returnees should be involved in raising awareness on migration. We are the backbone of many achievements but, sometimes, we are also the one who push our children to go in the wrong way. That’s why women should be involved – so that they will help other women make informed decisions on migration.
Women can contribute to combat irregular migration through counseling their children about alternatives. I urge fellow mothers to help their children to make good migration decisions and shun the backway. Everyone is born under a different star. Do not push them into the wall of uncertainty. Let them find their own way and help them find that path, rather than pushing them to risky decisions.
Rosamond is a volunteer of the Migrants as Messengers (MaM) network.
Rosamond received assistance to open a shop through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union's Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.