Pejvaque was only eighteen when he first arrived in Belgium. He had quit school and left his country, Iran, to do something with his life.

It was a snap decision, with no real information on migration and its rules. I was just young and hasty to achieve success.

After arriving in Belgium he realised just how difficult the coming years would be. For two years he waited for his asylum approval, two years without any result. Pejvaque remembers those days as being ‘unbearable’. He missed his family enormously. Adding to that, life in Europe in general and Belgium, in particular, was completely different than what he had expected. He did not speak one of the languages, he was not entitled to a work permit and the money he had saved to come to Europe was running out as he had to use it to pay all his living expenses. Finally, he realised that Belgium was not what he wanted, he just wanted to go home.

I approached IOM after hearing from other migrants how IOM helps stranded migrants to get back home and assists them with reintegration into their own society. Quickly we arranged a meeting and I was able to explain my story. They then assisted me in the different stages of my return home.

While he was still in Belgium, Pejvaque had no idea what he would want to do once he got back to Iran. One of his main ideas was to resume his education and consequently create new opportunities for himself. Once back, he was welcomed warmly by his family. His migration experience however inspired him to set new priorities for himself: his family and a job. Realizing that he had no solid educational background nor work experience, he decided to go to an adult high school for one year and chose ICT as a major. IOM paid for his tuition accordingly. Now, eighteen months after his return, he finished his classes and works in a fast-food shop as a cashier. The salary isn’t much but he’s satisfied because it is his first job and for now he lives with his parents in a rented flat. He’s really happy to be reunited with his family, he currently has an income allowing him to provide for himself and has some new goals for the future:  “I would like to further improve my proficiency in computer skills in order to apply for better jobs. I will take some time to learn but I’m sure it will prove very useful on the labour market.”

SDG 4 - Quality Education
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities