By: Abir Soleiman

Poverty and lack of economic opportunities are among the main reasons West Africans migrants cite as the drivers for  leaving their home behind, in search for a better future. Most of these migrants leave their home in order to reach Europe, but instead they only encounters suffering along the way. They often end up with no choice other than relying on unscrupulous smugglers. By embarking on extremely perilous journeys, they can find themselves stranded abroad and in very vulnerable situations that expose them to abuse, expolitation and the risk of being trafficked.

IOM’s SSS 2 programme provides life-saving humanitarian assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations at key junctures along the route, as well as critical reintegration support, once they can safely return home. This includes building skills for individuals, to strenghten the knowledge and tools they need to be able to provide for themselves and their families, in their country of origin.

Corneluis, 39, is one of the migrants that have been assistend in IOM transit centres, and received support in Niger. Originally from Liberia, both his parents died from Ebola which left him and his five siblings struggling for survival. The hardships forced Cornelius to interrupt his studies. A few years ago, he then decided to try and reach Europe. After being cheated by smugglers along the journey, he recently found himself stranded in the desert at the Nigerien border with Algeria. IOM provided him with humanitarian assistance and then, once he safely reached our centre in Agadez, he was offered the opportunity to enrol in the business management training that IOM holds at the centre, in collaboration with local partners.

"Thanks to this training, now I now have the confidence that in two years, my new business can be successful” Corneluis, 30

Corneluis has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and the training fits perfectly with his aspirations to open his own taxi-business once he got back top Liberia. His siblings are still struggling with poverty back in Liberia, he hopes that his new business will help him  provide for his family too. 

The training programme offered by IOM in collabration with local partners as part of the Safety, Support and Solutions programme is empowering migrants and helping them to overcome the vulnerable situations they are facing. Through this training they are gaining new skills in business management that they can use to support themselves once they can be safely back home.