An Eritrean dad meets his 6-year-old son for the very first time after reuniting with his family in Belgium

“My name is Kesete. In 2015 I had to flee my country Eritrea. At that time, I had 4 children, & my wife was pregnant with my youngest son. When I crossed the border into Ethiopia, I got arrested. My son was born when I was in prison, so I never got to see him before I left.

3 months after my arrival in Belgium, I got refugee status. After that, my family had 12 months to apply for their family reunion visa at the Belgian embassy in Ethiopia. They were still in Eritrea, & leaving the country is extremely dangerous. A colleague of mine was shot dead when he tried to cross the border. The first 2 attempts of my family to flee Eritrea failed. On their 2nd attempt, they got arrested, & my wife & 5 young children were put in prison for over 6 months. While in prison, the deadline for them to apply for their visa passed. We tried to send their applications to the embassy by mail, but they didn’t accept them.

After 12 months, there are a lot of conditions for family reunification, such as having a permanent working contract, 12 months of pay slips, & a house that is big enough for your family.

Needless to say, this was extremely difficult because I was still learning Dutch. I managed to rent a house that was way too expensive & in extremely bad condition, but with 4 bedrooms. I started working cleaning houses & managed to get a contract. After being separated for 4 years, my family could finally apply for their visa. Because of COVID, the procedure took extremely long, but finally they received their visa in March 2021.

For me, it was impossible to buy plane tickets for my family. Because of COVID, my working hours were reduced & with the little money I make, I’ve been supporting my family in Ethiopia, paying for the DNA tests needed for their visa, & paying rent for my house in Belgium.

I am so grateful to Miles4Migrants for reuniting my family after 6 years. I saw my youngest son for the first time this week, & he is a big 6-year-old boy now. It hurt so much to be separated for so many years, but now we can finally be happy & start our lives in Belgium. I will never forget your help.”

150,000 donated Air Canada Aeroplan points made this family reunion possible!

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.

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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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