Jamilatu is from Walewale in the North East Region of Ghana and 30 years old. Before she went to Libya, she was selling secondhand clothes in Accra. When the business faced challenges and a friend told her about an opportunity to travel to Libya for work, she decided to go. One day, she was stopped by the police and was arrested because her passport had expired.
Jamilatu came back to Ghana in 2018 together with her daughter. In March 2020, as part of her reintegration support under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, Jamilatu launched her business in Walewale, retailing secondhand clothing. The spread of COVID-19 in the country affected her infant business venture. She needed to adapt, and decided to diversify her business and invest into a grains and cereals business. She is selling maize, rice, groundnuts and soybeans at the Ganga market in Walewale.
Today, her daughter is going to school, and with the profits of her business Jamilatu is able to take care of her family, including her brother and his two sons.
"My name is Jamilatu Sulemana. I’m from Walewale. I’m 30 years old.
I travelled to Libya. Why did I travel?
I was in Accra selling secondhand clothes. The savings I used to do my business got finished.
One day, a friend called me. She said she got a chance for me to travel to Libya for work. But I said I don’t have money to travel and if I am going to travel who will pay for my travel expenses. She said the agents will pay and once we get to Libya, we will work and pay back. We worked for three months. One day, I went out to buy food and some policemen started calling me. They requested my passport and said that it had expired. I was arrested and sent to the police station.
I spent three months in prison with my infant daughter until I decided to return to Ghana with the help of IOM.It was the biggest relief for me and my daughter.
Back in Ghana, I received a container which I could use for my business. I also received financial help to stock the container with maize, soybeans, shea nuts and groundnuts.
Then, coronavirus hit us and affected my sales.
So I said to myself, I have to sustain the investment I was given by IOM. I decided to invest into farming and other food stuffs. Now, I can take care of my daughter, father and mother, as well as the children of my late brother."