"My name is Donna and I am an involuntary returned migrant (returnee) from the United States of America to Guyana. On arrival in Guyana I encountered many challenges as a returnee, no different to others who return under similar circumstances to Guyana.
Involuntary returned migrants encounter discrimination on return to Guyana because of their status as ‘deportees’ and being often stereotyped as criminal due to ignorance and misinformation. The term ‘deportee’ attracts much stigma and one’s status as a ‘deportee’ seriously hampers efforts of reintegration with challenges of access to basic services such as opening a bank account to employment.
As a returnee I was determined to overcome these odds and was successful with attaining a tertiary education in my home country with a Bachelor’s of Law degree from the University of Guyana.
However, noting the plight of other returnees I established a non-governmental organization called Juncata Juvant Friendly Society to attend to their needs and to foster partnerships and support on effective returnee reintegration.I believe Juncata Juvant Friendly Society expertise of understanding the needs and concerns of the community and our service and advocacy guided IOM in 2009 to forge a sound partnership with us for the implementation of the Reintegration of Involuntary Returned Migrants Program.
The partnership between IOM and Juncata Juvant was a good one and the reintegration program directly supported more than 200 persons with essential services such as provision of identification documents, family reunification, small business start up, among other things.
Juncata Juvant was instrumental in the preparation and provision of hygiene packages for returnees on arrival at the airport, job preparation training, counselling sessions and vocational skills training of which I spearheaded.
IOM relied on Juncata Juvant for the ‘on ground’ support to directly interface returnees and provide essential support needed in the name of the program.
Today, many returnees are productive members of Guyanese society because of the reintegration program by IOM, the partnership between IOM and Juncata Juvant, and the leadership and advocacy I provided to the benefit of returnees."