Welcome back to Italy, welcome to IOM!

11/24/2017, Rome, Italy, Greta writes:

A happy ending: Beatriz from Colombia

Colombian flag

Dear readers,

In the next articles, I will tell you about some of the people I have met during my work at IOM Italy in the Assisted Voluntary Return & Reintegration (AVRR) team.

I will briefly recount their stories in their country of origin, their migration path in Italy, their return and their reintegration into the country of origin, achieved with IOM’s support.

Names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of our beneficiaries.

Today I will tell you the story of Beatriz, a 45 year-old woman born in Colombia.

Beatriz was born to a middle class family. She graduated in Pedagogy and soon after began working as a teacher in a primary school. After a few years, she lost her job and ended up working in a factory. In 2002, due to the precarious and harsh working conditions, she decided to emigrate, leaving her young child to her mother’s care. She chose to come to Italy following the advice given to her from some compatriots who had done the same many years before. She arrived to Italy with a simple tourist visa, which she hoped to turn into a working one.

Beatriz's shop in Colombia

In Italy she began to work as a caretaker, at first illegally, but finally after a few years she received a regular job contract. In 2010 her son Luca was born from a relationship with a fellow countryman. In 2014, Beatriz lost her job and was left with a mortgage to pay in Italy, two children and a sick mother in Colombia. From that moment onwards, she began to work occasionally as a babysitter, cleaner and caretaker, all without a regular contract. Her living conditions began to worsen drastically day after day, until, after hearing about the IOM’s AVVR Program in June 2017, Beatriz gave in to the idea of ​​returning to Colombia (with her partner and her son) in order to begin a new life, going back to where she had emigrated from 15 years earlier.

Once there, she decided to use the reintegration contribution to open a small shop selling fruit juices and homemade dishes. She rented a shop in a small town near the Colombian capital, she bought the furniture and machinery. The economic activity has been successful since the very beginning. Beatriz has been back for five months now. She is in contact with us and with our IOM colleagues in Bogota and she reported us that she is able to sustain herself and her family and she has also managed to fix the relationship with her eldest son, now aged, and to look after her elderly mother.
Beatriz went through many difficulties in her life, first in her beloved Colombia, and then in Italy as a migrant, but her perseverance in the end has rewarded her. She has successfully reintegrated into her society after living abroad for 15 years.
Every day I get to know tragic stories of suffering, people who have undergone torture, violence and injustice. Many of them are also suffering from psycho-physical disorders, sometimes even very serious. When I have the opportunity to personally get to know our beneficiaries in Rome, despite the great amount of daily work, it is inevitable for me to spend time with them and listen to their stories. What strikes me more every day is the resilience that is generated in people after traumatic events and in conditions of extreme vulnerability and difficulty. Despite the adverse circumstances in which they found themselves, many of the migrants I have met have been able to be passionate and enthusiastic about life and reach important goals.


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