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31 August 2017

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Ismail* reunited with his mother in Sierra Leone. Photo: Flavia Giordani/IOM 2017

The Boy Who Returned Home

(IOM) Freetown – When the Sierra Leonean community in Mauritania first contacted IOM, the UN Migration Agency, it was to seek help to find a young boy who had escaped from the Mahadra (Koranic school) and had gone missing for days. The boy was Ismail, a nine-year-old from a poor neighborhood near Freetown, Sierra Leone. He had arrived in Mauritania in 2016, sent by his family to study the Koran.

A very active and smart boy, Ismail had decided to escape because he was unhappy in Mauritania, being away from his family. He was also not happy with his studies. He just wanted to go back to Sierra Leone, back to his family. When IOM staff first met him, he was always staring at the ground, scowling. Although only 140cm tall, Ismail’s gaze seemed that of a world-weary, grown man.

It was clear that he knew exactly what he wanted and that he would not give up until he got it. As he did not want to go back to the Mahadra, IOM placed him with a host family where he could spend some time with the family’s children and play around in Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania.

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A group of migrants returning to Indonesia under the (AVRR) programme in the Netherlands. Photo: IOM

Texting Returnees: Effective Communication for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

(IOM) Geneva – Suvdmaa* and her younger sister travelled to the Netherlands last year, seeking employment and new opportunities. But life was not as easy as they had imagined, and after overstaying their visa, they started worrying about the risks they might face by staying. They decided to return home to Mongolia with IOM’s assistance.

As the departure day grew closer, Suvdmaa was concerned that they might not receive the flight information because their address had changed so often. However, there was really no need for them to worry. Soon after, Suvdmaa’s phone lit up with a text message and their flight details appeared on the screen.

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Read more on IOM’s thematic papers on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration in the global context on migration management.


Ana and Eri: "If I could go back twenty years ago I would not immigrate."
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Migration in the News

  • CNN, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, AFP,  RFA, AP, Bangladesh’s The Independent all reported that an estimated 18,500 people have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar since the latest outbreak of violence on 25 August. Thousands more are still trapped in no-man’s land between the two countries.

Trending on the Internet

  • ICRC reported that for migrants fleeing violence or seeking better economic opportunities, the Evros River is a perilous crossing that has claimed many victims trying to enter Greece.
  • AFP reported that hundreds of migrants are sleeping near a Brussels train station, sparking fears in the EU capital of a new 'Jungle', similar to the dismantled camp in Calais.


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