Opening a computer store

Hoping for a better future for their children, the Harbi family arrived in Belgium in September 2014. To pay for the journey, the family sold all of their belongings in Baghdad.

During the examination of their asylum application, the family stayed at Eeklo's Red Cross reception centre. When their request was denied, they stayed in the centre to prepare their voluntary return.  They had invested everything into their journey and no longer had a place to stay in Baghdad. Luckily the family could count on their grandparents and were able to stay there temporarily.

Before their return, a social worker looked into their specific needs. Just like many Iraqis in search of a better future, the husband was highly educated with a diploma in computer sciences. The parent's greatest concern was for their children.

Reintegration project

In April 2015 the Harbi family was able to leave. Upon arrival several family members were there to welcome them and for the first few months they stayed with their parents. This solution was not ideal, but it did give the family plenty of time to think of a way to earn money.

With the reintegration support the family reopened a small computer store. The largest part of this (limited) amount of money was spent on purchasing stock. Together with IOM, the family made a business plan and IOM took care of the follow-up of the material support. The family hopes to be self-sufficient soon thanks to the investments.

The children could return to a public school in Baghdad. These are free, but there are continuous additional costs such as books, clothes... With the revenue of the store, they hope to improve the future of their children. IOM Baghdad also gave the family advice and social support.

Source: IOM