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Back in Tunisia with a plan for the future

I'm 35 years old, from Tunisia, and my name is Wissem. I lived in Europe for a total of 15 years. It was my dream to have a good job there and start a family. But neither of these worked out. Now I've found happiness in my homeland, Tunisia. Back then I wouldn't have thought that possible.

I travelled to Italy and France in 2002 and spent most of my time there working in retail. However, since I didn't obtain legal status, I went to Germany and applied for asylum there. When this was declined, I decided to return to my homeland.

But starting again in Tunisia was very difficult, I had been away for a long time. I didn't find it easy to adjust because everything had changed. And I didn't have a clue about my career opportunities. So in April 2018 I went to the "German-Tunisian Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration" in Tunis. The advisors there referred me to a German call centre. I had learned Italian and German during my time abroad, which made this possible. I was able to convince them and was given a job!

Now I finally have a regular employment contract – with social security benefits, holidays and all the trimmings. I have also joined a programme for entrepreneurs sponsored by ANETI, the Tunisian employment agency. My real dream is to open a modern food store in my district. I come from a poor region of Tunis which doesn't have any stores like that yet. I'd like to change that!

Today I can say I'm doing much better than during my time in Europe. I have finally found my vocation. My head is clear here in Tunisia, I have a well-ordered life and a plan for the future. That makes me happy.

It took some time, but now I'm happy. The journey back was worthwhile!
Wissem, Tunisia

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