Svenko, his wife, and his two children came to Ireland to visit his sister in 2006. They intended to stay for a few months, but Svenko’s daughter almost immediately became ill. The family lived near Dublin for over one year while she received medical treatment in the hospital. During that time, Svenko found jobs to support the family although he did not have a work permit. Svenko’s daughter eventually recovered from her illness, and the family wanted to return to Ukraine. However, they could no longer afford to travel after paying the medical bills.

Svenko talked with other migrants in Ireland and learned that IOM could help. He made an appointment to discuss voluntary return, and found that he could apply for a grant to start a business in Ukraine. Svenko had been trained in car maintenance, and began planning to open a repair and supply shop. IOM helped Svenko to arrange his family’s travel documents and made special considerations for his daughter.

The family struggled after returning, because they had to rely on friends and relatives for assistance in the first few months. Once they applied for the reintegration grant, however, Svenko was able to set up his repair shop. The business is now so successful that the family can survive on its profits. Svenko advises others thinking of return to “not be afraid” and to “use the reintegration grant for the benefit of the family.”