Sónia came to Portugal in 2003 with the intention of giving a better education to her daughters. Her brothers were already living in Portugal and this gave her the courage to leave Brazil and to aim for a new life. At the beginning, she only came with her youngest daughter, but later the rest of her family decided to join this new adventure.
Seamstress by profession, Sónia thought about following her activity in Portugal. However, she got a job as an housekeeper. The husband, a construction worker, lost his job after the financial crisis and couldn’t find a new one. With just one salary and three daughters in charge, the financial situation became unsustainable for Sónia and her family, and after 11 years in Portugal, they decided to return to their home country.
She learned about the Program of Support for Voluntary Return and Reintegration of IOM Lisboa through a brother who had benefited from the Program. Without financial means to pay for the return, Sónia opted for IOM’s help.
"My daughters were not even going to school anymore because I no longer could keep them there", says Sonia.
"It is better to go back to my country where I have family and home. At least there I won’t have to pay rent, and my family can help me with whatever it takes. In Portugal it was just the five of us, we had no one else and the situation was becoming unsustainable".
With the dream of resuming her profession, Sónia asked for IOM’s financial support to buy sewing machines and to have "something that can help me start over", she explains. Now they are living in Brazil for five months already, in the city of Florianopolis, and she already bought the machines she needed in order to start the small business.
"I'm still starting, but I already have some customers and I can make some money", she says with some pride. "I'm happy to be back, but I do not regret going to Portugal. I learned a lot, especially on how to value people, because when we are away and we miss our families, is when we value those on our side and we learn to love them as if they were our own family”.
Sónia also explained that it was worth having emigrated, because her daughters could have the education she craved for them. More: "I got to know a new country, a new culture and new people.
I came to like the Portuguese as if they were my own people".
However, she reaffirms the need to return if the situation is no longer sustainable. "I mean, if anyone needs it, get help and go back to your country. Once back, we feel good in our country, in our home and we can count on the support of our relatives". .