Bucharest – Part of the IOM Romania family since the 17th of October 1999, our beloved Volkswagen Sharan served as a strong partner for our colleagues for the last 20 years. Counting over 460,000 km, it was a crucial part of the IOM team during the transport operations of over 10,000 migrants, of whom at least 4,700 were refugees.
10.000 migrants together with 10.000 stories, dreams and hopes, breathing in relief at the sight of the IOM car.
Originally purchased to serve as a transport vehicle in Timisoara, supported thousands of refugees in starting a new life, was then brought to Bucharest for transportation to and from the airport, but also to help victims of human trafficking in need, providing safe and dignified transport. Now, one of the oldest 'members' of the organization has completed his career and will soon be 'retired'.
Our colleague, Mihai Clondir, operations coordinator, tells us how the vehicle was involved in countless transport operations for victims of human trafficking:
“We had many adventures, but fortunately we always turned out to be fine. I remember that at one point we supportted 6 victims of trafficking to go back home, from Bucharest to Skopje, to testify in a lawsuit against a trafficking network. While through Bulgaria, we were escorted by police cars and and security crews, as we were waited on the border with Macedonia by head-to-toe armed individuals. Although the road was sprinkled with the incidents, we arrived at the destination well, and the girls testified, thus leading to the arrest of traffickers and to offering a new chance to a normal life for the six victims. "
With the radio always on, playing great music for the road and the news handy to always be aware of what is going on, we will have a hard time separating from our trusted ally who will "retire" from work soon.
We are pleased that it will be replaced by a newer, more spacious and powerful model, a junior ready to assist the IOM team in providing assistance to thousands of migrants.