Freshly back from South Africa, Debebe has reason to smile
Twenty-seven-year-old Debebe is married and has four children, and hails from Lemo Woreda, in Hadiya Zone. He completed grade 10 and had enrolled for technical and vocational education and training. But he attended only one semester, having opted to migrate to South Africa in order to provide a better life for his family. Although some of the major influences came from the community and his peers, it was his financial situation that forced him to leave Ethiopia.
To raise the money to pay the smugglers, he sold some of his household assets. His journey began in Hadiya. He travelled to Hawassa and then made his way through Moyale. He then went to Malawi via Tanzania. Even though his anticipated destination was South Africa, he never made it there. He was detained in Malawi for two months. During his journey, he encountered many challenges, and faced constant danger and physical abuse.
After a year, Debebe returned to Ethiopia and was reunited with his family. Upon arrival, he was accommodated at the IOM Transit Center in Addis Ababa where he received psychological support as well as pocket money for the rest of his trip home. Due to the psychological trauma that he suffered after his arrival, he was not stable enough to work to support for his family.
Around this timer, IOM had invited Debebe to submit a reintegration business plan, as well as attend counseling sessions, along with a six-day training that covered entrepreneurship, Kaizen and psychosocial support. After receiving the training, he bought construction materials to finish a house he had started building for his family before emigrating. With IOM assistance and funding from the European Union, he was able to complete the home and move into it with his family. Also, thanks to the psychological training he received, Debebe was stable enough to start a micro-business - a boutique and began involvement within his community. He is generating an income of nearly 4000 ETB (145 USD) per month. Along with coving all house expenses, his children are enrolled in a private school.