When Everything Seems Lost Returning Home Becomes a Lifeline

Back home, Abeba* made a modest living selling vegetables. Her neighbours told her that other people from her community earned higher incomes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Propelled by dreams of earning enough to buy a house for her family, she too decided to leave.  

“At the beach in Somalia, smugglers crammed us into unseaworthy boats to take us to across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen,” Abeba recalls.  

“There were nearly 100 people on the boat. In the middle of the sea, we had to get the water out with our hands to avoid drowning.” 

Abeba was one of the few who made it to shore alive. She managed to come up with the additional money smugglers asked her for to make her way to Sa’dah, a city on the border of Yemen and KSA. There, she stayed with her sister while awaiting to travel onward.  

One day, a missile hit their house and her life changed forever.  

“Suddenly there was an explosion,” Abeba says. “I lost my sister, and I was burned and wounded. After the attack, one of my relatives took me to the hospital and contacted my family in Ethiopia who paid for my treatment.”  

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) health team received her at the hospital in Sana’a and covered the cost of her treatment in the hospital.  

“After I got out of the hospital, I moved to this facility in Sana’a where I was provided with psychological support and further treatment as well as accommodation. My journey was terrible. I want to go home. I will warn all those who plan to come here not to because I do not want anyone to go through the harsh experiences that I have been through.” 

There were nearly 100 people on the boat. In the middle of the sea, we had to take the water out with our hands to avoid drowning.