Our newest strategic focus is on improving and reducing the cost of travel for refugees. We have two primary partnerships in this space. Together with The TripAdvisor Foundation, we made a substantial professionalization grant to Miles4Migrants which, as the name implies, collects airline miles from donors to reunify immigrant and refugee families around the world. While the organization has only hired its first paid professionals in mid-2019, they have already flown over 2,000 people and collected over 80 million frequent flier miles. Miles4Migrants continues to grow its partnership referral network, enhance its relationship with airlines and grow its volunteer booker team in order to continue to meet the demand for refugee and immigrant family reunification. This virtuous cycle has the potential to transform refugee and immigrant travel around the world.
In both the US and Canada, the cost of travel for resettling refugees is borne by the refugee families, typically utilizing a government travel loan. Under the current system, IOM (The International Organization for Migration) books travel for refugees which have been approved by governments for resettlement, including airfare, medical escorts, airport transportation, and overnight accommodations. In late 2019, working closely with IOM, IRAP, and United Airlines (and later other philanthropic partners), we were able to create a vehicle to fund the full cost of travel for the 2,700 minors who will be reunited with their parents as part of a settlement with the US government under the Central American Minors Program (CAMP).
We are optimistic that our recent successes with Miles4Migrants, IOM and United Airlines will lead to new, win-win opportunities to transform refugee travel globally, including the possibility of what has been a substantial financial burden on the resettled refugees.
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