Mamadou wanted to migrate to France from his native Guinea. But halfway through the journey, he made the decision to go back home. Now, he's working on a farm, set up by the International Organization for Migration.
"This trip was in fact hope to me, but now it's turning into despair,'' Mamadou said when he was staying in a transit center in Niger.
Initially, the young man wanted to travel to Europe, but now he has returned to Guinea-Conakry, where he is rebuilding his life with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Difficult journey and a return home
Mamadou, 23, left his home in 2016 with the aim of reaching France to continue his studies in marketing. Persuaded to undertake the journey after hearing the stories of friends who had done so successfully, on the way there he realized that getting to Europe would be much more difficult than what he had imagined.
"Too many people lose their lives in the desert. There is nothing to eat or drink - it's a disaster,'' he told IOM.
After reaching a transit center in Niger, exhausted and traumatized, he decided to contact the IOM with the aim of going home. "Since I left, I knew about IOM. I watch the news, I'm on Facebook - I knew who to call if I was ever in trouble".
Once he was back home thanks to assitance from the UN agency, Mamadou took part in a poultry raising project involving 300 migrants who returned to Guinea-Conakry from Niger. After having heard the stories of abuse suffered by the other migrants, he is happy to have returned home. "I am completely invested in this project and I want to make it work,'' Mamdou said.
The IOM says that all the migrants assisted by the organization as part of assisted voluntary returns can take part in reintegration projects funded by the EU. Currently there are 20 micro-projects in Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Senegal, and Mali. "The projects help returnees rebuild their social, professional and personal networks that they may have lost during their migratory journeys, but also support community members in countries of origin to prevent future risky departures and to strengthen the community development mechanisms,'' IOM said.