A new start in Nigeria (engl. Version)

  Esslingen | Newplacement international

Experience report from the project Newplacement international

John (name changed) was a special case for the Newplacement International team. He had already lived and worked in Germany for many years and even had a residence permit, but then went back to Nigeria for 7 years. 

After suffering a stroke in Nigeria, he made his way back to Germany in 2020, hoping to receive better medical care here. However, due to his long absence from Germany, his residence permit had expired, so he was staying in Germany illegally. He did not want to apply for asylum, which is why he was assigned to a shelter for homeless people. 

In Germany, in his already challenging psychosocial situation, he then had a second stroke which required medical treatment. Due to his problematic residence status, he was referred to the return counselling service in the Esslingen district, Ms Sabine Pereira by the authorities. She in turn made John aware of the counselling services offered by Newplacement International (NPI). In March 2021, John became a participant in the project and Karesly Saavedra Cabrera took over the counselling on his options in the future in his home country. 

After several counselling sessions, he came up with the idea to open a small shop at home in Nigeria, where he wanted to sell gas for cooking and various canned foods. The advisory centre of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Benin City also advised John in a 'pre-departure call' on support opportunities back home. The GIZ GmbH counselling centres are part of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development's (BMZ) commitment to voluntary return and reintegration.

John actually wanted to return to Nigeria as soon as possible, but many things had to be clarified and organised in advance due to his health situation. He received a lot of support from IOM, which, for example, provided an accompanying person for the return flight to Nigeria, made contact with family members at home and organised medication for the first months back at home.  

After completing the counselling in Germany, John returned to Nigeria in June 2021 and started implementing his business idea. Due to his difficult health situation, he received increased in-kind support to implement his business idea through the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), a predecessor of today's Joint Reintegration Service Programme of the European Union.

He was able to successfully open his small shop and runs it with passion. In the meantime, the business is doing so well that he has expanded it and now also offers pastries and breakfast. His plan for the future is to open a bakery so that he can offer his customers an even wider range of pastries.

Concluding, John says about his current life in Nigeria: “It not easy here, but I am not crying anymore and I laugh a lot“ 

We are happy that we could support John in his difficult situation with our counselling and wish him all the best for his health and his future in Nigeria.


John in Nigeria

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