Meet Bernadette, a Filipino lady with a piggery and a beneficiary of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme of IOM Cyprus.

In 2006, she left her little village in the Philippines to travel 9.000 Kilometres to Cyprus. With many dreams in her suitcase, Bernadette tried her best to support her family from the little island of the Mediterranean.

Within these 15 years in Cyprus her life had pleasant moments: Bernadette’s two children graduated from university and started to dream about their future. When she was no longer able to find work and support her ill husband, she decided to go back home to be next to her loved ones.

Bernadette showed an interest to return voluntarily to Baguio City and IOM Cyprus was there to support her, through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme. Contacting IOM Cyprus and becoming a beneficiary of the programme materialised her wish to return back to her family and make a new beginning.

Bernadette not only did she return to her family safely and with dignity but she received reintegration assistance, in order to open a piggery, where she grows and sells pigs. Her first business steps were marked with success, as she is now trading the animals while the future looks bright, not only for Bernadette but for her city as well. At the same time, the community benefits from the opening of new roads leading to the piggery.

For Bernadette, life in her hometown is different now and, despite the difficulties, her strength and willingness to make a new start in her hometown and be near to her children and relatives made her happy and complete.