Back from Italy, Salvadorans Restart their Lives with Support from IOM

Date Publish: 
El Salvador / America

Sonia, Raúl, Georgina and Jesus do not know each other, they
are not the same age nor have similar responsibilities, but they
share the dream that led them to migrate to Italy some years ago.

Today, they have returned to El Salvador to restart their
interrupted lives thanks to the Assisted Voluntary Return
Programme, (P.A.R.T.I.R. III, by its Spanish acronym) funded by the
Italian government and the European Union and carried out by IOM
offices in Rome and San Salvador.

In possession of a tourist visa, the four Salvadorans migrated
to Italy for different reasons, but with the same idea: find a job
in the European country and send remittances to help their families
back home.

"I left four years ago because I wanted to help my mom who was
sick. While I was there I realized that she needed to return to El
Salvador, so I stayed behind working to continue helping the
family," explains Georgina, a 22 year old beneficiary P.A.R.T.I.R.

Georgina, like other Salvadorans who have benefited from this
IOM-managed programme, experienced difficult times.

Sonia had trouble finding a job to continue helping her

"I was unemployed and alone there, while my little girl was in
El Salvador. I needed to return home, but I wasn’t able to
prepare my trip back from Milan," says Sonia.

Thanks to P.A.R.T.I.R. III, the four managed to return to El
Salvador, where their relatives were waiting anxiously, but also
with some trepidation thinking of their economic future without the
financial support the remittances contributed to their

P.A.RT.I.R. III, launched in July 2011 and ending on 30 June
2012, provides assisted voluntary return and reintegration schemes
to vulnerable migrants living in Italy.

"The main objective is to facilitate the return of migrants and
to provide a viable reintegration in their country of origin. They
receive support to return, but most important to set up businesses
in order to ensure financial support for the family," says Cecilia
Ramírez, Coordinator of the IOM programme in El

"With this help I will be able to move forward. The truth is
that it has been very useful. You come back thinking you
won’t be able to find a job, but the opportunity to start
your own business is a good thing," explains Raúl Navarrete,
another beneficiary who has set up a welding shop and also assists
in automobile repairs.

For Georgina, the amount provided by the programme allowed her
to start a small clothing business and to become a partner in the
grocery retail store owned by her grandparents. "I was lucky that
in this area there are many pregnant women, so I sold a lot of
clothes and other stuff to them," adds the smiling young

Jesus managed to address some health issues and is now
continuing his studies so he can explore better opportunities to
fulfill his goal of helping his family without having to travel

With a shy smile, but encouraged by the cheerful support of her
sisters, Sonia says she set up a pupusa business; a local dish
consisting of prepared corn flour stuffed with either cheese,
beans, or ground pork, or all three together. Thanks to this
business, she manages to support her daughter, and to see her grow
up in their country of origin.

For more information, please contact: Yulissa Guevara, at IOM El
Salvador; Tel: +503-2521-0500 Ext. 27; Email: "paragraph-link-no-underline" href=

IOM Project Assistant, Tatiana Ortiz, accompanies a beneficiary to make initial purchases for her new clothing business. © IOM 2012 (Photo: Yulissa Guevara)
IOM Project Assistant, Tatiana Ortiz, accompanies a beneficiary to make initial purchases for her new clothing business. © IOM 2012 (Photo: Yulissa Guevara)
Georgina is just 22 years old but she has very clear ideas for her future. She set up a clothing store in partnership with her grandmother (seen in back) and plans to continue her studies. She is speaking with IOM Programme Coordinator, Cecilia Ramírez. © IOM 2012 (Photo: Adriana Granados)