“My name is Dina and I come from Georgia.
I first came to Greece in 2004. My sister-in-law had come to Greece several years ago and she is still living and working legally in Chania, on the island of Crete. Back to my country, I was working as an economist, but my company went bankrupt and I found myself unemployed, together with another 2,000 people. I was looking for months to get a job, while my husband who was working as a professor at a university stopped getting paid, as well. At the same time, we had three sons to raise. The older one, was studying at the university. We could not afford paying for his studies. There was no income for the family. Although he was a good student and the university helped us a lot, he could no longer continue his studies there.
That was the moment when I decided to leave my country and look for a job somewhere else. My husband was against my decision, but I had no alternative. My children’s future was a priority for me. I sought information related to Greece with the help of my sister in law and I decided to start this journey hoping for a better future. I travelled as a tourist by bus from Georgia to Athens and from there by ferry to Chania. Irregular travelling was not my option.
The first months were difficult, I felt sick, I went to doctors and they told me that my health situation was fragile due to psychological reasons. Everyone urged me to go back home, but there was no way back for me. I could not give up and I did not give up.
All these years I was working as a domestic servant. I was even doing two jobs in parallel. From morning till noon, I was going to a house helping mainly with the households and after finishing with that, I was working till night in another house. I was earning good money, enough to live in Greece and to send to my family back in Georgia, as well.
I want to thank all the families who have trusted me; who have offered me work and who have treated me in a so nice way. I will never forget the first family I worked for, which had an 8-year-old son. When he was learning the Greek alphabet, I was sitting next to him to learn the language, and this is how I learnt Greek. Soon I started to read stories and fairy tales to him.
I did not expect from them to be so nice. I do not know how to thank them. Greece is now a part of me.
I found out about AVRR from a friend of mine, who returned to Georgia two months ago. She was very pleased with IOM services. The die had been cast. I wanted to go back to my children; I wanted to meet my grandchildren.
I contacted the AVRR Information Officer who operates in Crete for more information related to the programme and he assisted me with the procedures I should follow. Consequently, I visited IOM premises in Athens where I was provided with a reintegration counseling session discussing my options. The same week, after getting my air ticket and the cash assistance, I got informed that upon my return to my country, I would be benefited with the in-kind reintegration assistance, as well. I returned to Georgia while in less than a month my small business had been set up.
I am happy and satisfied since all of us have found our way. One of my sons is a lawyer, the other one became an accountant and the third one an economist. And I…returned to them, running my own small business.”
Reintegration is a process that enables returnee migrants to participate in the social, cultural, economic and political life of his or her country of origin again.
The programme "The implementation of Assisted Voluntary Returns, including Reintegration measures” (AVRR) is co-funded at 75 per cent by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (AMIF) and 25 per cent by the Hellenic Ministry of Interior.