Bielefeld, Germany - One and a half years after resettling to Germany, Akiro Williams has adjusted into his daily routine. A father of four, he takes daily orientation and German language courses to be able to get a job and fully support his family.  

The Williams family, originally from South Sudan, fled their home in 2001 due to the outbreak of war. They found shelter in a refugee camp in Kakuma, in the North-West of Kenya where they then lived for more than 20 years. Three of their four children were born there. 

Every now and then, Akiro and Gloria tried to return to their home in South Sudan. However, the horrors of war forced the family to flee again and find shelter in Kakuma. Though the refugee camp provided safety for the young family, it offered little perspective for the future of their children. But a new chance arose: the Williams family was resettled to Germany. “When I come to Germany, I will have a good job and send my kids to school”, says Gloria hopefully, when she prepared her family for the voyage. 

The young family found their new home in Bielefeld, a town in the west of Germany, where they felt safe. However, adapting to the new society and local customs as well as learning a new language while taking care of their four children, can be a challenge even for the strong willed.  

The Williams family at the airport in Germany. Photo: IOM

Support came from a mentoring group of volunteers of the governmental-society NesT programme from day one. The programme Neustart im Team (NesT) – German for New Beginning in Team supports refugees in particular need of protection. The assistance from mentors included, among many, finding suitable apartments and arranging appointments with the necessary authorities and medical professionals whenever required. At their arrival in Frankfurt in mid-February 2022, the family was greeted with a warm reception from IOM Germany and members of the NesT mentoring group.  

Akiro and his family are adjusting into their life in Germany, with the support from their NesT mentors. While the children are at school, Akiro spends most of his time learning German as well as the country’s history and culture. His wife Gloria will start the introduction course once their youngest child, born already in Germany, goes to nursery. 

However, Akiro and Gloria find it challenging to make friends and integrate into the new community themselves. “We keep in touch with other migrants we came to Germany with, but unfortunately we all live in different places, so we can only speak on the phone”, states Akiro. He hopes this will improve once their German skills improve. 


“Children is what keeps me going”, - says Akiro, “knowing that they will have a future here in Germany gives me hope”. 

Akiro and Gloria Williams know they cannot turn back the clocks, but they are optimistic about what the future holds for their family in their new home in Bielefeld. “I have wasted so much of my time in the Kakuma refugee centre,” Akiro states. “I want to do something useful with my life.” 

He is hoping to start working soon, so he can support not only his family in Germany but also send remittances back home to his mother.  

He speaks with pride of his children: “They are learning German so easily and making friends at school, our hearts are full”, says Akiro.  

“Children is what keeps me going”, - says Akiro, “knowing that they will have a future here in Germany gives me hope”. 


Established by the German Federal Government, NesT admission programme aims to increase the involvement of civil society in supporting refugees who are resettled to Germany. The programme includes the admission of up to 200 refugees in Germany. 

IOM supports the resettlement processes around the world. IOM’s pre-departure activities include assisting the family in obtaining visas, provision of comprehensive health examinations, and preparation for life in Germany in the framework of a three-day pre-departure orientation training including the preparation for the NesT-Program. 

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities