Why Family Reunification is Needed
Can you imagine fleeing your home? And not just leaving behind your community. Becoming separated from your family too.
Sadly, the circumstances that push refugees from their homes often separate families. And this creates countless hardships. Sometimes there are tragic consequences. The loss has a lasting emotional impact that affects other areas of life. In other words, it can prevent families from integrating into their new communities.
Thankfully, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) sees family as a primary community, for every person. Because of that, UNHCR prioritizes family. Together, UNHCR and organizations like World Relief work to reunite husbands and wives, bring together parents and children, and connect children with their siblings. Above all, to restore relationships.
UNHCR promotes family reunification to protect and preserve the unity of this fundamental unit of society, to restore basic dignity to a refugee’s life, and especially to provide protection for children…UNHCR
The Barriers to Reunification
However, the journey can be long. And it’s challenging. There is often an extensive waiting period after someone submits their application. Loss of formal documents can make it difficult for families to prove their relationships. Additionally, it can be expensive. Airfares, legal fees, and other costs add up. It can end up being thousands of dollars that families can’t afford. Beyond those costs, it can be hard to find affordable legal advice. Because of that, too many families go years without seeing each other.
But there is hope.
How World Relief Reunites Families
Every year, World Relief works to bring families back together. By providing free or affordable legal help, staff walk families through the whole process. First, staff can evaluate the case for reunification. Then help with submitting the application. They can sift through the required documentation. Then case managers can help with resettlement details. Finally, World Relief volunteers can even provide a ride to the airport. All of this can take years!
But it’s worth it to bring families back together.
Then when they are, it’s always an emotional experience.
Watch the video below to see one family’s emotional reunion at the airport.
Watch more videos of hope on World Relief Chicagoland’s YouTube channel!