A Somalian mother and her six-year-old daughter were reunited after three years apart and now live together in Cyprus, thanks to efforts by the UN Migration Agency International Organization for Migration (IOM), which made the family reunification possible.
A 29-year-old Somalian mother and her six-year-old daughter who were separated for three years have recently been brought back together, with the help of the UN Migration Agency International Organization for Migration (IOM).
They met again for the first time at the Larnaca International Airport on the island of Cyprus on 22 October. Samia, the mother, had a journey to Cyprus that was full of struggles, but now she has managed to ensure a better future for herself and her daughter, Manar.
Samia and Manar's journey
When Samia arrived on Cyprus, she applied for asylum, which she received. She then applied for family reunification so she could bring her only daughter, Manar, to Cyprus. Manar had remained back in Somalia with her grandparents. IOM helped Samia with her family reunification request, providing assistance with documents so that Manar could fly to Cyprus, as well as providing assistance in the airports from departure to arrival.
With the support of the Cypriot Interior Ministry and the country's Civil Registry and Migration Department, Samia was finally able to hug her daughter after three years apart.
The positive tool of family reunification
"This reunification is the outcome of great coordination between IOM and the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus," said Natasa Xenophontos Koudouna, head of the IOM office in Cyprus. "Samia was separated from her daughter for three years. She missed her daughter very much and was thrilled upon her arrival. IOM, in addition to resettlement support, also offers additional safe and legal pathways for migrants, including the most vulnerable family members of refugees".
This is the first time that IOM Cyprus has assisted a Somali family in this manner, and only the second time in the mission's history that a family reunification has taken place. IOM said family reunification accounts for a large share of regular migration in many countries and is a positive means of upholding the right to family life and promoting social integration. It is encouraging all EU member states to consider a programmatic and comprehensive approach to family reunification.