Irene came to Ireland in 2007. She applied for asylum and lived for three years in an accommodation centre. However, in 2010, she decided that she wanted to return to her family. A staff member at the accommodation centre put her in touch with IOM.
Irene applied for assisted voluntary return and went back to live with her family in South Africa. It was hard for her to leave Ireland, especially as her sister decided to remain in the asylum process.
Once in her country of origin, Irene received family support until she applied for the reintegration grant. With the fund, she started a small shop where she sells snacks and soft drinks.
After six months, Irene spoke with IOM staff in South Africa about her business. Her biggest obstacle was learning how to manage customer credit. “I am currently looking for employment to subsidy my tuck shop business, as the people owe me money for items from the shop.” Irene missed Ireland, but felt she had made the right choice in returning to South Africa.