Migrants returning home often face significant obstacles in rebuilding their lives.
With the help of the UN, she has started a small business and supports her family.
After her husband left her, Fatima, 49, became the main breadwinner for her four daughters.
Motivated by the desire to ensure a better future for them, she immigrated to Egypt in 2017, taking her two youngest children with her.
“I took it one step at a time, but I always had the mindset of trying to be successful for my daughters,” she says.
“Leaving my older daughters behind was one of the hardest decisions I had to make.” Once in Egypt, Fatima barely managed to get by with short-term jobs, as most employers would not hire her due to her age.
“They told me that she was too old and that she was not in shape, and when my daughter, who was 17 at the time, applied for a job, they told her that she was too young,” says Fatima.
Before the onset of COVID-19, migrants in Egypt and elsewhere were already vulnerable.
This got worse after the pandemic, and Fatima and her daughters struggled to make ends meet.
“We suffered even more and there was no one to help us,” Fatima recalls.
Reintegration assistance provided by the UN Through the Sudanese community in Egypt, Fatima learned about the UN Migration Agency (IOM) Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program and realized that returning to Sudan was an option.
In June 2021, IOM arranged for the return of Fatima and other Sudanese citizens stranded in Egypt.
After arriving in Sudan, Fatima was one of those who received cash reintegration assistance, which enabled her to meet her needs in the economic and social dimensions of reintegration.
Sudan continues to face several overlapping challenges, including internal population displacement caused by conflict, climate, and socio-cultural conditions, leading to high levels of food insecurity.
The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 worsened already rising prices for staple foods, medicines and other basic goods, rising unemployment and falling exports.
A successful businesswoman However, with the help she received from Fatima, she was able to set up a small business.
IOM also helped her enroll in the national health insurance, which covered her and her two daughters, who received support to continue her education through the programme.
Cash assistance provided by IOM Sudan proved to be a quick and flexible way to help her reintegrate.
This method of support allows her and others in her situation to choose which business they want to start.
Fatima had noticed the sale of utensils.
“It took me less than a month to receive assistance, which made me even more determined to start a business of my own,” she says.
She bought some household items at a wholesale market to sell to the women in her community, who soon became her clients.
To further expand her business, Fatima also began selling cooked meals to her neighborhood health center, which lacked a cafeteria for patients and visitors.
“My businesses are doing well,” she says, “and now I can support my daughters.
Going back to Sudan was the best thing I could have done.”