© Monica Chiriac/IOM
A ‘Young Adventurer’ Drives Home Message About Irregular Migration
Meet Mamadou, a returnee from Guinea-Conakry
We met Mamadou, 23, last year at IOM’s transit centre in Niger. Exhausted and traumatized after his journey, Mamadou couldn’t wait to go back to Guinea-Conakry and reunite with his mother. He felt like a disappointment and an embarrassment to her.
Mamadou left his home in 2016 headed for France, where he hoped to continue his studies in marketing. He had seen his friends make it abroad so he thought he could as well. Somewhere along the route, he realized that it wasn’t as easy as he had imagined. “Too many people lose their lives in the desert. There is nothing to eat or drink it’s a disaster,” he recalls.
He had made it all the way to Arlit in northern Niger when he decided to get in touch with IOM and go back home.
“Since I left, I knew about IOM. I watch the news, I’m on Facebook I knew who to call if I was ever in trouble.”
Once back, Mamadou signed up for one of the joint EU-IOM reintegration projects aimed at providing income-generating activities for returning migrants from Niger and local community members.
He is excited to be part of this project, and sees his migration days as a “young adventurer” as a life lesson.
“I am completely invested in this project and I want to make it work.”
Having heard the stories of abuse his fellow migrants at the centre endured, he is thankful for getting out of this experience unharmed, and for finally having something to look forward to.
All migrants assisted by IOM with voluntary return from Niger are eligible for the EU-IOM reintegration programme funded by the European Union. Twenty micro-projects have been set up so far in Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Senegal and Mali for close to 6,000 beneficiaries.
The projects help returnees rebuild their social, professional and personal networks that they may have lost during their migratory journeys, but also support community members in countries of origin to prevent future risky departures and to strengthen the community development mechanisms.