Story
04 Jul 2021
By: IOM Belgium

Return after a long stay in Belgium
Luiza and her three minor children arrived in Belgium in 2014. The family went through several procedures but without success. In February 2019, she decided to discuss the voluntary return option with her social worker at the reception center. During a conversation with IOM in Belgium, Luiza’s concerns on housing and education for the children were discussed, as well as the possibilities to become financially independent. In March 2019, the family returns to the republic of Chechnya to join their family.

Housing and education of the children
Upon arrival in Chechnya, Luiza could stay with her family-in-law for a short period. She contacted IOM to further discuss the renovation options for housing. First, the idea was to renovate the family house, but as the local architect decided that the family house was not in the proper condition to have additional constructions, the reintegration grant was finally used to construct a small separate building near the main house. Here, Luiza and her children could live separately from the other household members which had a very beneficial effect on the well-being of the family. 

As two of her children also needed to catch up with the curriculum, a private tutor was found to catch up with the school program. During the school holidays, the tutor provided classes in the Russian language, with whom IOM concluded a service agreement for direct payment.

Entrepreneurship training and hairdressing training
Since Luiza was still struggling to find a job and become financially independent, IOM invited her to the Micro-Business startup workshop in Grozny in December 2019. This training is organized by IOM in cooperation with the Grozny School of Business and provides information on business registration, taxation policy, market segmentation, accounting, budget preparation, etc. Luiza also received a certificate of completion after the training.

After the training, IOM supported Luiza to find a qualified hairdresser who developed a tailor-made individual training course for Luiza consisting of both theoretical and practical modules. IOM covered the training costs under the Job Placement project and in January 2020 Luiza started a 4-week “on-the-job” training where she learned to master basic hairdressing skills like hair cutting, coloring, lightening and more advanced skills like creating multi-color images, making various hairstyles and designs. After the training, Luiza passed a final test and was offered a job as a freelance hairdresser in the salon where she received the training.

Impact of COVID-19 on business activities
Luiza had been working independently in the salon for about a month when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and the Russian Federation went into lockdown. She resumed working once the quarantine was lifted but unfortunately, in July, the owner of the salon where she was working decided to move to another place. As Luiza could not afford to pay the rent by herself, she is currently looking for a new place to rent at a cheaper price. IOM is also looking how to further support Luiza as she wants to attend new hairdressing workshops to learn about new techniques of hair coloring, hair care and treatment. Luiza is very happy being a hairdresser and is determined to develop and succeed in her profession despite the current difficulties caused by COVID-19.

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities