It goes without saying that 2020 has been a trying year. The world has been tested in ways previously unseen in our lifetimes. But as the year begins to wind down and the holiday season inches closer, the seemingly small activity of counting our blessings can bring in more light than we expect. Here at Miles4Migrants, one blessing we’re counting this year is the 4th anniversary of our first family reunion. On November 1st 2016, Miles4Migrants reunited a Syrian family in their new home of Belgium using frequent flyer miles.
In order to escape the violence and unpredictability brought on by the civil war, Adnan (named changed to protect privacy), a husband and father of two, fled his native Syria for Turkey in 2014. After finding work at an international NGO, Adnan was able to bring his family to Turkey after four months. Unfortunately, Adnan’s work contract was only short-term, and without additional work prospects or legal residency in Turkey, Adnan was forced to make the extremely difficult choice to send his family back to Syria. He continued on in search of a safe home for his family. Adnan spent 18 months in Belgium without his family, all the while sending money back to his home country to support his wife and children.
After hearing Adnan’s story and connecting with him via one of our international partner organizations, Miles4Migrants was able to use frequent flyer miles to fly his wife and two children from Syria to Belgium to reunite them with their husband and father.
Four years later, Adnan and his family are still living in Belgium. Based on his experience in Turkey, Adnan knew he wanted to help other displaced persons and those seeking asylum find employment opportunities in foreign countries. He now works as a job coach at an organization that supports job-seeking refugees and migrants.
In addition to his full-time job, Adnan also volunteers his time at the European Training Integration Organization (ETIO), a newly-formed grassroots charity organization that assists refugees from across the world with adapting to life in Belgium. Run solely by volunteers like Adnan, ETIO provides a variety of services to help refugees become acclimated in their new communities – everything from culture integration courses, to language development, to housing services and legal support. Miles4Migrants has recently reached out to the founder of ETIO, Aziz Adil, to inquire about partnership opportunities where refugees involved with ETIO could make direct requests for airfare assistance. Aziz Adil was thrilled about the prospect of partnering with Miles4Migrants to offer yet another valuable service to refugees.
Thank you again to Adnan and Aziz Adil for sharing their stories and insight. We look forward to a long-lasting and meaningful partnership with ETIO!
Your frequent flyer miles and credit card points can help reunite more families: