A Grandfather’s Journey to a Better Life

Date: 28 June 2017

Service: Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration


Fathy is among 180,000 individuals arriving to the Greek border in 2016 in search of a more prosperous future. He considers himself to be one of the lucky people who not only survived such a traumatizing experience but also became a living example for many Egyptians who believe that irregular migration puts an end to all financial issues. With five sons and more than ten grandsons, Fathy left Egypt after failing to find a stable job.

With the help of a friend, Fathy had to pay more than $1500 to take an irregular route to Greece in hopes of having a better life that would guarantee a decent educational future for his grandsons. To his surprise, life on the other side of the Mediterranean was much more difficult than he had originally anticipated. Fathy ended up staying for several months in Greece without finding a job and life became increasingly more difficult without any family or friends.

Fathy had originally embarked on this journey for his grandchildren but with time he came to the realization of the importance of being by their side. With the dire economic situation and lack of any emotional support, Fathy found it very difficult to continue living in Greece and wanted to return to Egypt. Several friends referred Fathy to the IOM office in Greece, where he entered the screening process. Thankfully, Fathy successfully earned a reintegration grant that not only allowed him to return to Egypt but also assisted him financially. This allowed him to reopen his butcher shop and buy two camels that tremendously improved the shop operations, improving the family situation.

Despite the few job opportunities in his home country, Fathy was able to create a prosperous future for both him and his family. Today, his shop is functioning better than ever despite the high degree of competition around him. Additionally, his sons helped him in selling the two camels in the course of month and buying two more camels and a goat.

Fathy went back to his butchery business with IOM support upon his return to Egypt.