“As a 24-year-old archeologist, spending 10 months in Athens was a dream come true.
I met a lot of people while in Athens and visited all the famous museums and ancient monuments that this historic city has to offer. I was attracted to Greek culture and history like a magnet, I just couldn’t get enough. The most valuable experience I gained, however, was through a Greek acquaintance who later became a very close friend of mine.
He taught me how to print postcards and create handmade souvenirs, frames and diaries showcasing Greek history and mythology. We were very creative with our work and sold this memorabilia to tourists.
Once I was confident in my abilities, I decided to take my newly acquired skills back to my hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia. I wanted to return home and produce the same material, but with Georgian traditions. I hope to create a cultural dialogue between Athens and Tbilisi by selling similar artifacts that tell different stories.
I found the voluntary return programme run by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to be the best solution for returning home. Thanks to the reintegration assistance provided by the programme, I will receive all the necessary equipment I need to build my workshop. This will allow me to create and sell original, handmade souvenirs that reflect Georgian tradition and culture. I love my home country and I am extremely excited to share its traditions and history with the world.”
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.