Muhammad Bashir (21) was a young teenager when his father was killed by an armed group in his home district of Ghormach in Faryab province. The incident forced his family to leave their home and they moved to Baghlan province. The responsibility of the family fell on Bashir’s tender shoulders. Lack of security and employment opportunities forced Bashir to take a dangerous route to first travel to Iran and then to Turkey. Spending around six years in Iran and Turkey as an undocumented migrant came with a number of grueling challenges. Recalling his overdeal in foreign countries, Bashir narrated, “As an undocumented migrant, I had very limited access to basic services of health and food. Hospitals often refused to treat me or admit migrants like me. Employers in both the countries exploited me because of my undocumented status and I started developing health issues.”
Desperate and disappointed, Bashir returned to Afghanistan in December 2019. Upon his return, his neighbors suggested he visit the Reintegration Information Centre (RIC) in Baghlan, meant to help Afghan returnees in their readjustment with life back home. Subsequently, Bashir enrolled himself at the Centre and informed the RIC staff about his needs. In the meantime, Bashir kept doing odd jobs earning a meagre income that barely covered the daily expenses of his family.
Bashir regained hope in October 2020, when RIC in Baghlan approached Bashir and referred him to IOM. IOM then introduced him to Faisal Food Production Company for employment and skills training. IOM’s RADA programme partners with existing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to generate jobs for Afghan returnees in areas of high return.
“IOM referred me to Faisal Food Production Company. Besides providing me a stable income, I am also getting skills training at the job, which I hope will help me in the future,” said a more optimistic Bashir.
Without an income, Bashir was becoming hopeless and his health was deteriorating. Now with a stable employment, Bashir is at last able to support his family.