Assalah’s Story

by: Assalah, an Iraqi asylum seeker 

Hello, my name is Assalah, I am 19 years old and I come from Iraq. My father has disappeared in Iraq since more than 2 years now. Probably died… That’s why my mother, sister and brother had to run away from the country.

Because the road to Europe is dangerous and expensive, I stayed alone in Iraq, at my mum’s relatives that I didn’t knew before…

I was living there, alone, staying at home, not going to school, neither to town, because the city was unsafe… It was really hard. I felt like a stranger. Two years is a long period to live like this… I was tired, psychologically and physically, to live far away from my family and to not know when we could be reunited again…

In Belgium, where my family had asked for asylum, my mother and my sister got sick. Cancer. My mother is good now but my sister is still on chemo … It was also very hard on my mother to feel she left me alone. Her relatives kept on asking her when I will leave, because I was a charge for them… It was time of insecurity …

After two years of procedure, my family finally had their refugee status in Belgium. Because I had reached majority at that time, the family reunion was no longer possible so we introduced a humanitarian visa application. It is an uncertain issue, that generally receives a negative answer and that takes long time… So it was a period of stress again…

By chance, everything went fast! When I knew they would allow me the visa, I felt like a bird, to which someone had opened the cage. I told them, at the embassy, “I feel I’m born again.”

Then, someone in your organization, Amy, gave me the miles. And in such few days, you’ve paid for me the plane ticket that would take me back to my family, to my new life.

When I arrived at the airport in Belgium & when I saw my mother and sister, I felt peace and hope. I feel my health and mood have changed directly… I have begun to eat again …

Me and my family are really thankful to all the people who helped us and supported us and made that all these procedures go faster.

To all of you: really, really, a huge THANK YOU.


Note: Assalah, as you may note, does not entirely fit our criteria for our reunion program.  Prior to taking her as a client we received assurances from our NGO partner, Caritas Belgium, that she was not going to be traveling on a short-stay humanitarian visa and that she would have an asylum application processed on entry into Belgium.  Assalah has chosen not to change her name for this story.

How Miles4Migrants helps

We collaborate with a network of global non-governmental organization (NGO) partners who work directly with refugees and migrants to identify and verify individuals who are financially unable to afford air travel. Once our partners submit flight requests, we use donated frequent flyer miles, credit card points, travel vouchers, and cash to eliminate transportation barriers for the most vulnerable individuals affected by war, persecution, or climate disaster. Our goal is to help these individuals reunite with their loved ones and start a new life in a safe environment.

Learn more about us in our FAQ

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– According to the United Nations, there are currently 108 million individuals forcibly displaced from their homes worldwide.  

– The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. Everyone has the right to life and liberty. Everyone has the right to freedom from fear. Everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution.

As migration is often the last option for survival, migrants may embark on clandestine journeys, subject to danger, extortion, and inhumane conditions

Once they finally get legal approval for resettlement, migrants face another challenge that makes the journey seem impossible: the transportation costs.

There are many ways for you to get involved and help us continue our work:

You can donate cash to help us cover operational expenses or contribute your unused air miles, credit card points, or travel vouchers to help us book flights for refugees and asylum seekers. Additionally, you can help us spread the word about our cause and our impact on the lives of those we serve.

Every donation, no matter how big or small, has the power to make a difference. Thank you for considering supporting our mission.

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