Story of Bakiza (age 36) and Mahmood (age 27), migrants from Jordan, living in Tbilisi, Georgia

Bakiza and Mahmood left Jordan in 2018 and moved to Turkey to protect their family from Bakiza’s violent ex-husband.

At the same time, Bakiza was trying to find a way to somehow help her young daughter recover from the trauma caused by being a victim of sexual assault in Jordan. This horrible incident has shocked the family and had caused immense distress to the teenage girl. Bakiza struggled to get some support from the government and ensure protection for herself and her two children, but in vain. Bakiza’s son, her youngest child, is still suffering from all the violence he experienced from his father.

IOM/Eric Gourlan

However, Turkey did not prove to be a heaven that the family was looking for. They were experiencing problems related to racism and religion, could not communicate due to the language barrier. Bakiza and Mahmood could not find a job and Bakiza’s ex-husband was still harassing them. So, the family decided to move to Georgia.

IOM/Eric Gourlan

The family has been living in Georgia for almost one year now. They are happy here and they feel safe. Before COVID-19 Bakiza and Mahmood were working in a beauty salon, which unfortunately closed due to the pandemic. The family is now left without income, which is hard as they need to pay their rent and school fees. But until they figure out how to overcome their financial challenges during COVID-19, they feel happy to be safe and healthy together and to have all this time to think about their future. Bakiza and Mahmood hope to get residence permits in the nearest future and they need to make sure, that the children can go back to school.

Migrants may be particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 due to sub optimal living conditions, loss of work, challenges related to accessing medical services due to either lack of knowledge of Georgian or due to high cost of services, xenophobia, limited local knowledge and networks, limited understanding of their rights, and low level of inclusion often related to their migration status.

 

Written by
Author
Ana Kakushadze
National Programme Officer/Media & Communications
IOM
Ana Kakushadze-1
UN entities involved in this initiative
IOM
International Organization for Migration