IOM The Gambia
“I am happy to finally reunite with my family after many years of hardship in Libya.”
In 1992, I married my husband at the age of 17, and we went to Libya. My husband and I went there to hustle—I worked so many jobs, ranging from babysitting to housekeeping. Life in Libya was good, and everything was going smooth. I was working at the Nigerian Embassy, and then the uprising began in 2011.
The embassy had to close down, but my husband and I stayed for around three more years, wanting to earn more. In February 2014 we returned home to The Gambia for a holiday and went back to Libya after a month. I spent majority of my adulthood in Libya; it was the only place I knew. But when I went back, things were totally different. Sometimes, it would be announced that no one should leave their homes., It was no longer safe to go to work, as you would be attacked on your way. Homes were being invaded, and all your belongings taken. We were only able to survive because my husband would sometimes go out and look for temporary work, which was also very risky because he could have lost his life.
After four years of terrible living conditions, we desperately wanted to return home permanently, but there was no more way out of Libya. Flights were not available, and we did not want to journey across the desert because we were unfamiliar with that route.
Fortunately, we met someone who told us about IOM offering people assistance to return their home countries. We reached out to IOM, registered and retuned home safe on a charter flight.
In April 2019, we arrived back in The Gambia. Through our reintegration assistance, my husband I bought machines and opened a tailoring shop. During this past Eid, we made a lot of profit but, nowadays, it is difficult to find a serious tailor to work in our shop. This is why, in the future, I hope to gain firsthand knowledge in sewing.