A Journey from Despair to Hope

Date: 10 February 2016

Service: Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

Donor: United States State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)


Tragedy leaves very little room for any silver linings, but every once in a while, in the wake of a disaster, hope and life are born. Ayla Camile’s story is one such example.

Ayla’s mother was a Filipina domestic worker in Cairo, whose life came to an unexpected end due to severe medical complications. With her only guardian and caregiver gone, Ayla, an infant, was left utterly alone in a foreign land. Thus began the journey of Ayla’s return to the Philippines. After having received the case, the Embassy of the Philippines joined forces with the United States State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) project named “NOAH III,” which provides direct assistance to victims of trafficking and other vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied migrant children, in Egypt, Sudan and Libya. The remains of Ayla’s mother were returned to the Philippines.

Gears were set in motion and the dynamic partnership between the Embassy and the IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) services meant swift strides in the journey of Ayla’s return home. From IOM pre-departure medical screening, to providing baby Ayla and her embassy staff escort’s return tickets and essential items like pampers and baby milk, the process was a long but prompt one.

On the chilly morning of 10 February 2016, Ayla Camile was returned to the arms of her kin, with nothing but an air of innocence and a slight cough and runny nose, for which IOM accompanied her to the doctor.

Today, Ayla is a happy, healthy baby growing at her Manilla home, in the warmth of her grandmother’s love.

Ayla returned to her family in Philippines with IOM's support after her mother passed away in Egypt shortly after giving birth to her.