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I was a refugee, but now...


Project: Assisted Voluntary Return and Rehabilitation & Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals
Location: Khartoum | Sudan
Date: Sunday 30 September 2012 & Monday 1 October 2012
Partners: IOM Sudan | IOM Netherlands | IOM International

What did the hitchhikers do?
One of the biggest challenges in a country that is recovering from war is that the thousands, sometimes millions, of people who have lost their houses, their jobs, their families and more have to find their place in ‘normal life’ again. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) assist refugees to build up their lives and their country again. In Sudan, Neda, Christiaan, and Sierd, met different former-refugees who were part of two of IOM’s programs: the Assisted Voluntary Return and Rehabilitation program and the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals program.
Within the Assisted Voluntary Return and Rehabilitation program IOM assists former refugees to find their place in society again by helping them to get a job, education, etc. IOM Sudan writes about this program: "Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) is one of many migration management services IOM offers to migrants and governments. It aims at orderly, humane and cost-effective return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. Pre-departure, transportation and post-arrival assistance is provided to unsuccessful asylum seekers, migrants in an irregular situation, migrants stranded in transit, stranded students and other persons under similar circumstances. IOM’s assistance involves counseling, a reintegration grant to set up a small business and follow-up monitoring. In 2011, 31 people received AVR or AVRR support. In addition, IOM provided ongoing support in 2011 to those Sudanese refugees in Egypt and Ethiopia who sought assistance in returning to Sudan. The number receiving assistance in 2011 was 310 from Egypt and 1 from Ethiopia." (Click here for more information.)
The second project that the hitchhikers spoke about with former refugees was the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals program. This project enables Sudanese people who fled to the Netherlands to carry out temporary work for which there is a lack of local expertise in Sudan in hospitals, universities, etc. Next to their – for example medical or technical expertise - these migrants have all the necessary cultural and language skills, which makes that they can make a valuable contribution to their home country. The story of Ekhlas Eisa is an interesting example of this: “Ekhlas Eisa came to the Netherlands as a refugee seven years ago, at the age of 37. She dearly wanted to do something for her country, so in 2007 she went to El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, for six months. She knew that a local NGO, the Community Development Association Darfur, needed people with knowledge and experience of setting up and supervising projects. Her university education and experience in education meant that she was able to help them. "My Sudanese background is also of crucial importance. This helps you to connect faster and introduce new ideas and methods more easily. You're actually a bridge-builder who works on developing ability." (Click here for more information).

Who are the partners involved?
The International Organization of Migration (IOM) is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management, to advance understanding of migration issues, to encourage social and economic development through migration and to uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

What were the hitchhikers experiences? Can we see some photos, footage or blogs?
Watch here episode 9 in which the hitchhikers visit the IOM!

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