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My new start growing vegetables

Relying on green shoots: Ibrahima wants to become self-employed growing vegetables.

My new start growing vegetables

My name is Ibrahima and I’m 33 years old. I spent 10 years abroad. I was in Turkey, Serbia, Hungary and Germany. In 2015 I applied for political asylum in Germany, but my application was refused – so I came back to Senegal. Now I’m living in Diaglé, the village where I was born, and I’m committed to growing vegetables. It's in the Saint-Louis region in northern Senegal.

I had left Senegal to start a new life, but I couldn’t get a job in Germany without the necessary residence permit, and without a job I had no way of earning a living and no prospects. That’s why I decided to come back to Senegal.

Equipment for his new start; Ibrahima (on the right) with an advisor in a warehouse selling seeds, fertiliser and tools.

Detailed preparations for becoming self-employed in Senegal

I met my advisor at the Zentrale Rückkehrberatung Südbayern (ZRB – Central Return Counselling for Southern Bavaria) in 2020. He gave me some good advice and guidance. I also had the chance to take part in a training course that prepared me for going back home. My advisor also helped me to fill in the necessary applications and organise my return journey. At the same time, he would reassure me about the support I would get after I arrived back home.

The return advisor also introduced me to a reintegration scout. He acted as a middleman between the different agencies to assist with my reintegration. A coach from Social Impact also helped me with that. He and I worked on developing my business idea of growing vegetables while I was still in Germany. He also helped me to prepare a business plan. The comprehensive advice I received made me feel well prepared even before I went back to my home country.

Practical training after my return

I flew back to Senegal in June 2021, and met with the team from the Senegalese-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (CSAEM) in Dakar to be given advice. I attended a training course about how to start a business. That gave me a lot of useful knowledge about running a business and marketing. A horticultural training course has also been arranged for me. This will teach me the practical side of things so I can then grow my own vegetables.

I’ve also been given financial start-up packages by different organisations, such as a monthly subsistence allowance from Bavaria. I’ve also been given tools and equipment for my new start. These include irrigation pipes, pots of vegetable seeds, bags of organic fertiliser, various plant protection products and a motor-driven pump.

Everyone will benefit from the well

I intend to grow vegetables and supply them to hotels in the tourist town of Saint-Louis as well as nearby markets. I’ve also already chosen a suitable field for my vegetable growing business. The soil and water conditions there are very favourable for growing vegetables.

Water is very important for this project, so I’m grateful for the support I’m getting in terms of drilling and operating a well. It’s not just me who will benefit from the well and from growing vegetables successfully, but the entire village. I’m highly motivated, and I hope that my plan to grow vegetables will be successful.

As of: 01/2022

The opportunities for advice and assistance described here are offered as part of “Returning to New Opportunities”.

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Support for Ibrahima’s return home

Ibrahima received help from the following to return home successfully:

The comprehensive advice I received made me feel well prepared even before I went back to my home country.

Other experiences