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We’ll stay in touch!

Eine Frau steht vor einer Hecke und blickt in die Kamera. Es ist Beraterin Nighat Aziz.

We’ll stay in touch!

The Pakistani-German Facilitation and Reintegration Centre (PGFRC) opened in September 2020 and started its work amid the corona pandemic. Even during the crisis, the team continued to assist people in their new start – both vocationally and in society. We interviewed advisors Nighat Aziz and Faisal Shabbir who explain how this works.

Ms Aziz, Mr Shabbir, how would you describe the work performed by the PGFRC?

Shabbir: We help people to find a job and reintegrate into society once they have come back here. Our assistance can take many different forms because the services we and our partners provide include training, further qualification, job placement and psychosocial support. We also provide assistance with business start-ups. The PGFRC is part of the “Returning to New Opportunities” programme run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Faisal Shabbir

Who can come to the PGFRC for advice?

Aziz: We don’t just advise people who have come back to Pakistan from Germany and other countries, we also assist the local population. This also includes those who have been displaced within Pakistan. In providing our advice, we leverage the centre’s large network that includes national, international, state and civil organisations.

How does the advisory process work?

Shabbir: I can use an example to explain that. We recently advised a young man who came back to Pakistan at the end of 2019 after spending five years in Germany. He had initially approached a return counselling centre in Germany, who in turn got a reintegration scout involved. That scout informed us about the case. The returnee was keen to become self employed. So we assembled an information pack with suitable options and the scout organised an online meeting to allow us get to know one another.

What happened after his return?

Shabbir: He came to our centre for a face-to-face conversation and we advised him on how to start his business successfully. An important impetus was that he developed new strategies for marketing via social media. I’m pleased to say that he’s now the proud owner of a mobile phone business in Kharian in Punjab province. We often exchange ideas with him and are continuing to advise him on how he can expand his business.

What is it like working during the corona pandemic?

Aziz: The Pakistani government reports that over 70,000 migrants came back to Pakistan between March and September 2020, so the need for support has increased. The hygiene measures we’ve introduced do however mean we can still provide face-to-face advice in our centre in Lahore, despite the pandemic. We also offer advice online to meet the needs of returnees who aren’t able to visit the centre in person. We want to ensure we stay in contact with people during these difficult times. We always follow up by phone or Skype so that we don't leave them alone right now.

In providing our advice, we leverage the centre’s large network that includes national, international, state and civil organisations.
Nighat Aziz