The other side of ‘economic migration’: psychosocial issues affecting young people returning to Ethiopia

Abstract: Families in Ethiopia, with few opportunities to generate income, sometimes send a young family member to work abroad. In many cases, the family sells property to raise the necessary funds, and therefore, expect that much of the income earned will be sent home. However, young migrants are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and may want to return home, or need to return after violence breaks out in their country of migration. Yet, returning home raises a number of challenges, not least those involved in returning empty-handed. In this personal reflection, I discuss working with the International Organization for Migration assisting young returnees to Ethiopia, explore the psychosocial issues affecting those who migrate and return, and put forward suggestions as to how their psychosocial wellbeing can be strengthened.

Obali Odolla, Jack