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IOM The Gambia

3,728 kmfrom home
" My parents were happy to see me back alive and I was happy to be back home with my wife and children."
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I was a police officer before my departure for Libya in March 2016. Before I left, I also worked in the timber trade for a Chinese company. My income was stable and I had some savings. All these changed after I started communicating with my friends who had taken the journey to Libya and crossed to Italy. They thought I should join them because life was good there. I decided I would take the journey to make life easier for my family. Although my father disagreed with my choice, I was determined to travel.

Without enough information about the journey, I bought a bus ticket, leaving my wife who was pregnant at the time. The journey to Libya was difficult. When I got to Tripoli, I tried cross to Italy over three times without success. On each occasion, I was caught and taken into detention.

On my last attempt, our boat ran out of fuel and we got lost for two days. The Tunisian navy rescued us, took us to safety in Tunis and then contacted IOM, who came to our aid with food, water, clothing, and sanitary and hygiene materials. Initially, I did not want to go home; but after three months in the camp, I realized my time to being wasted and that I should return to my country and start all over.

“My plan is to ensure that the poultry farm grows bigger, so I can generate a lot of revenue from it and create employment opportunities for young Gambians.”

IOM facilitated my voluntary return. My parents were happy to see me back alive and I was happy to be back home with my wife and children.

My reintegration assistance commenced a few months after my return. I decided I would go into poultry, as my father maintained a small poultry home before his retirement. After undergoing a poultry farming training program at EMPAS Poultry Processing Centre, I received a full poultry house with chicks, drinkers, feeders, and medicine and poultry materials. The support has improved my life and I’m so grateful for it. It has made me self-employed and independent.