by: A Belgian Man Who Volunteered to Be Guardian of an Underage Afghan Refugee
I am the former guardian of Khalil, an unaccompanied minor refugee from Afghanistan who got the status of ‘subsidiary protected’ in Belgium as from May 2017. At that time still a minor, Khalil applied for family reunification. With the assistance of Caritas International Belgium the family started the procedure. They were able to gather all the necessary documents and submitted their application at the Belgian Embassy in Islamabad – Pakistan early October 2017. In August 2018 the decision of the Belgian government was positive and the family was allowed to come to Belgium.
Since the situation in Nangarhar province where the family lived got worse – there were a lot of fights between Taliban and Afghan police and especially Khalil’s 17 years old brother was targeted by the Taliban – the family let us know they preferred to leave the country the sooner the better.
Bringing a family of 7 persons (father, mother & 3 brothers and 2 sisters (all between 2,5 and 17 years old)) to Belgium was not easy and very expensive. Therefore Caritas mentioned the organization Miles4Migrants and offered to mediate and to arrange flight tickets for 7 people.
Together with the family the choice was to fly from New Delhi, which was seen much safer than a flight from Pakistan. Miles 4 Migrants supported the flight from New Delhi to Brussels and the family afforded the tickets from Kabul to Delhi.
Meanwhile in Belgium, it was not easy to find a house, but at the last minute we got a useful tip of a house that was available great enough to host a big family. With the support of family and friends (Belgian and Afghan people) the house was renovated and furnished in due time in order to accommodate the family who arrived in Brussels on Monday November 19.
It was a warm welcome at the airport after three years being separated. For Khalil and Shah it was the first time they met each other! Shah was born half a year after Khalil left his family.
The family appreciates all these efforts and would like to thank both organizations Caritas and Miles4Migrants (and especially the British / Indian man who offered the miles to support the flight) and also all the people who took care of furnishing the house, collecting the family at the airport….
All these efforts surely will help the family to start a new life in a safe environment.
One week after their arrival in Belgium the oldest brother and sisters started with intensive Dutch language courses. The younger brothers were registered in a primary school and the parents will start soon with an integration course which will help them all to feel more at home in Belgium.