COMING BACK AS MOVING FORWARD: IOM ASSISTS RETURNEES FROM THE NETHERLANDS TO OPEN BUSINESSES AND START LIFE ANEW

Oleksandr*, a car mechanic, and his wife Iryna*, a pianist, together with their two little children were looking for a better life in the Netherlands. When their migration expectations failed, the family had to decide how to get back to Ukraine and how to earn a living upon their return. They contacted the IOM Mission in the Hague, which provided them with tickets and relocation assistance. IOM also informed the family that they could receive some reintegration support after preparing a sustainable micro-enterprise business plan. Oleksandr decided to open a small auto paint shop in a small town in Kherson Region, where the family has settled down.

We wanted to restart our life in Ukraine with our friends and to find a nice place to work and bring up our childrenOleksandr, IOM beneficiary

The necessary equipment and a set of paints and lacquers were purchased by IOM; the family also invested their own savings. Oleksandr’s shop provides new services which previously were not available in the town: drivers wishing to choose a proper paint for their cars had to travel a hundred kilometers to do so. The town is small and the client base of Oleksandr’s business cannot expand drastically, but the shop has been active for about a year, providing sufficient income for the family.

Iryna is currently on maternity leave, and her children enjoy being home, surrounded by caring parents and grandparents. “There is no better place for kids than with grandpa and grandma,” says Oleksandr’s father-in-law.

* The names were changed to protect privacy right

IOM Ukraine provides reintegration assistance to Ukrainian citizens who have returned from such countries as Canada, Italy, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland, Ireland, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and Latvia. The programmes are funded by the governments of the respective states. IOM helps returnees with vocational training and supports them in launching private businesses. The Organization can also provide programme beneficiaries with medical counseling and treatment, material or accommodation assistance. Since 2004, approximately 400 Ukrainian returnees have benefited from IOM’s reintegration programme.

 

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