Migration is often perceived as a one-way journey, starting from one’s homeland to a new country of destination.
The reality can be more complex, however. For some, the need to go back home is felt at a certain point.
This can be triggered by several reasons, such as the desire to reunite with family, changed conditions in either host countries or countries of origin, or the lack of legal status and work opportunities.
Going back is not always easy. Often, it means finding a new job, adjusting to a new lifestyle, and reconnecting with family and friends. While the situation of each returnee is different, many remain in need of support.
Since 1979, IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programmes have been supporting those who decide to return to their homeland but lack the means to do so. Assistance provided under AVRR can help returnees in preparing for their travel, return and reintegration.
This booklet presents a collection of some of IOM’s voluntary return and reintegration stories. It shows how people of diverse origins, age and backgrounds have used AVRR support to start their life anew. Journeys narrated in these pages offer a glimpse into the multifaceted narratives of migration - struggles, dreams, hopes, disappointments, achievements and successes. They tell us about the past as much as the future. They speak of our common humanity.
These voices, together with those of millions of other migrants, deserve to be heard. They reflect on us all, and on our societies.
Their stories are our stories.
William Lacy Swing
IOM Director General