Starting Over in Chad: A Returnee's Story

Date Publish: 
Chad / Africa and Middle East

Hadidja Banaye, 37, lived in Libya for 18 years. In 2011, she
returned to the small town of Moussoro in the West of Chad.

Just like another 1300 people who reportedly returned to her
town, her return was sudden and involuntary due to the Libyan
crisis in 2011.

Hadidja returned to Moussoro with her husband and six children.
They first arrived in the capital of Chad, N'Djamena, during one of
the return operations implemented by IOM, which facilitated the
transportation by plane of 31,599 people from Libya and neighboring
countries in 2011. Upon arrival in N'Djamena, they were met by the
IOM registration team and received psychosocial as well as medical
assistance, food and shelter in one of the three IOM Transit
Centres in the capital.

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target="_blank" title="">Chadian Returnees from Libya in Urgent
Need of Support for Reintegration into the Communities of
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Within one day, they were provided with transportation to
Moussoro by IOM. They are now settled in Hadidja´s
parents´ home, which they share with another 18 relatives.
While the family received them with lots of love and joy and
provided them with accommodation and food, the house is barely
large enough to offer space for everyone. There is no toilet and
neither water nor electricity. Some family members started working
in the market to gain a modest income to provide food for the
family. But the remittances which were formerly sent from Libya are

Hadidja says that the change from living and working in Libya to
returning to her parent's house has been hard: "Access to health
services here is precarious and the access to school for my kids is
very complicated".

As many other returnees in Moussoro, she hopes to receive
support for her socio-economic reintegration. "We want to work, we
are ready to work, but we need the initial economic support to do
it, since we arrived with our pockets empty, despite our work in
Libya for so many years. We need help to start again", Hadidja says

The return to his home in Moussoro from Libya for Sultan Mahamat
is not very different. Sultan, 37, has 2 wives and 9 children to
support. He moved to Libya with the hope of establishing himself
there, working in construction and supporting his family by sending
home remittances.

He was looking for a job for just 2 months in Benghazi, the
second biggest city of Libya, when large-scale fighting erupted and
he fled fearing for his life. Sultan returned home with the help of
IOM after only two months and his dream of a better future for his
children ended with the beginning of the conflict in Libya.

He was looking for a job in construction, as he was told that
the construction sector in Libya is hiring many unskilled laborers,
often from Sub-Saharan countries like Chad. However, he returned
without savings but with the sad and hard memories of a departure
in the middle of the Libyan crisis. His story is similar to many
other Chadian returnees, who were confronted with the realities of
open conflict and who now, upon return to the safe homes of their
families, have to face their families and communities empty

Today, Sultan occasionally works in agriculture. His salary is
not sufficient to provide support for his family. "I would like to
have my own piece of land to plow because I want to stay here by my
family´s side, I don't want to go back to Libya or somewhere

The story of these two returnees represents the needs and
current situation of many of the returnees from Libya. The
psychosocial, cultural and socio-economic reintegration in the host
communities has not been an easy process which is reflected in the
results of an impact assessment of the returnees carried out in all
regions in the country. The assessment was implemented by IOM as
part of the final phase of the project "Humanitarian Assistance to
Chadian Returnees and Third Country Nationals who fled the Libyan
Crisis" funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and
Civil Protection (ECHO).

ECHO has funded through IOM not only the transportation of the
returnees, but also the installation of Transit Centers throughout
the country to provide medical, psychosocial and nutritional first
aid as well as registration, protection and reintegration support
to the arrival of the migrants. In total IOM provided support to
over 90,000 returnees and Third Country Nationals from Libya until
March 2012.

The IOM team carrying out the impact assessment of the returnees in Moussoro. © IOM 2012
Sultan Mahamat, a returnee from Libya, hopes to have his own plow to subsist with his two wives and nine children. © IOM 2012
Hadidja Banaye returned from Libya in 2011 to Moussoro (West Chad). She expects to have a better life for her family. © IOM 2012