Monday, 27 June 2022 05:11

A turnaround after my failed illegal migration to Europe Featured

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: Giwa Juliet and her apprentice making hair for a client in her shop : Giwa Juliet and her apprentice making hair for a client in her shop Emmanuel Nnachoi Benin
My name is GIWA JULIET, I am a 35-year-old single mother of three, from Oredo LGA of Edo State. My story began when I dropped out of my Business Administration course in my third year at the university after I got pregnant with my boyfriend and subsequently moved in with him.

Thereafter, I had to start making people’s hair to make ends meet.  After the birth of my second child who turned out to have the sickle cell disease, things, became very tough for me as I struggled to provide him with needed medical care especially as their father abandoned us following which we got separated.   

In 2017, I saw an opportunity to travel to Europe to work and earn a good income and decided to exploit it.  To embark on this trip, I sold off my business materials, left my 2 children under the custody of my parents (without telling them where I was going), and traveled by land with the hope of crossing to Europe through North Africa. Unfortunately for me, I got stuck in Libya and could not proceed further. While in Libya, I was forced into prostitution for almost a year, as that was the only means of survival available. In my hopeless situation, the International Organization for Migration found me and helped me return back to Nigeria in 2018.

I was devastated on my return, as I had lost my father and had nothing to start life afresh with, except the little help and support that came from my siblings. I however reunited with the father of my children and got pregnant for him again though he tried to get me to abort the pregnancy, fearing that I would probably give birth to another sickle cell child again. Following our disagreement on this, we separated for good and I found myself moving to different salons to work for people in order to survive.

In 2021, the Edo Taskforce Against Human Trafficking referred me to Caritas Nigeria. They profiled and enrolled me into hairdressing training which lasted 8 weeks after which I was empowered with several items including a standing hair dryer, a hand-held dryer, mirror, washing stand, a generator set as well as a six months office space rent.

Things have improved for me since then because as a business owner with a shop of my own, I make at least N40, 000.00 (€90) profit monthly after all expense is deducted. Taking care of my three (3) children especially the sickle cell sufferer is no longer difficult for me. I no longer wait for their father to send money for their upkeep, a thing he rarely does. I even earn enough to make some savings for any eventualities in my shop. I currently have about 5 apprentices working under me two of whom I waived their fees as my contribution the society.

I am eternally grateful to Caritas Nigeria and GIZ for turning my life around.

Story Courtesy of Emmanuel Nnacho in Benin, Edo State.

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