My name is Shakir. I’m 45 years old and come from Sarai Alamgir, which is a small town in the Gujrat district of Pakistan. I’m married and have five children. I used to work in construction and earned a good wage. But I wanted to create a better life for my family, so I left for Germany in 2015. I spent five years there working as a farmhand raising cattle on a farm. But it came to the point where I couldn't cope with being separated from my family any more, so in 2020 I came back to Pakistan.
I went to the local return counselling centre, and explained that I need help with starting my own business in Pakistan. The return counsellor set up a Skype call to put me in touch with the team at the Pakistani-German Facilitation and Reintegration Centre (PGFRC) in Lahore. We discussed my ideas for a general store: I also wanted to sell school uniforms and writing materials as well as food. The advisors created a list for me that included potential suppliers and suitable rental properties.