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  • michaelhajek

Partner week ERRIN and ERSO in Brussels

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Connecting and learning from each other, in order to better accompany people who are returning to their country of origin. That was the goal of the partnerweek that was organised in Brussels, June 17 to 22. Reintegration partners from 10 countries were present for this intensive week of meetings and exchanges: Brasil, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Russian Federation and Ukraine. Not only with ERSO member organisations in Europe but also with government institutions of a number of European countries that work together in the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN).

ERSO meetings

The week was organised by Caritas Belgium International and the ERRIN Programme Management Unit, in collaboration with the ERSO network. In parallel sessions the European member organisations took the chance to reflect on current developments in their network and in the field of return an reintegration. Special guest during those meetings was ISS Switzerland, an organisation that supports return and reintegration in the country of origin from most regions in Switzerland.

ERRIN network The ERRIN network and a number of the European government institutions that it is composed of presented itself on Thursday morning. 15 EU Member States and Schengen-associated countries are collaborating to facilitate return to 16 countries on three continents. We learned that the numbers of returnees who return through their facilities is very substantial for some countries. The reintegration assistance varies in each country, as well as the preparation before return.

Learning from our partners in countries of origin

“Those returning to Nepal, mostly do so after a very long time: 10 to 20 years”, says Julian from Caritas Nepal. “Expectations are high,” adds Fabiana, who is from Brazil. “When you return from Europe, people think you’re rich.” Fabiana and Julian are two of the local reintegration partners, who accompany returnees in the countries of origin. They help them get their lives back on track, each in their own way, as the situation is different in every country. From Brazil over Ghana and Russia to Nepal: each partner has its own challenges, depending on the country, the profile of the returnees and other factors such as individual characteristics or previous migration experiences.

By discussing the possibilities beforehand, the returnee knows what to expect. This makes it easier for both the local partner and the returnee to make a good start with the social and economical reintegration shortly after arriving. A plan for medical support can be of great importance to returnees.

Under certain circumstances, returnees can qualify for financial reintegration assistance and start their own project in consultation with the reintegration partner. But other aspects are at least equally important: “You can’t just look at the economic side,” says Shimray from India. “You also have to consider social re-integration, for example acceptance by the family. We also have a peer support system: returnees can meet up and gain back their confidence.”

[With quotes from CIB news article 'Reintegration partners in Brussels']

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