Syrian refugees who recently started a new life in Canada have decided to help back their new countrymen by collecting funds for Canadians affected by a massive fire that has ravaged Alberta. Having fled their homes in the war-torn country, a group of refugees said they knew all too well the drama the 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray, evacuated because of the blaze, were going through.
"It's not easy to lose everything. We can understand them more than anyone in Canada. We were in the same situation," Rita Khanchet, a Syrian woman now living in Calgary, told a local newspaper. She wrote a message on a private Facebook group urging other newcomers to donate what they could to help displaced Fort McMurray families.
The message was then reposted in English on the Syrian Refugees Support Group Calgary page winning many positive responses. "Canadians have provided us with everything and now we have a duty we must do, must help the people who lost their homes and everything in a fire," the post read. "Get ready it's time to fulfil."
Many offered the little they had, including pieces of furniture or clothes they had been donated by charitable Canadians only months earlier. "It's amazing. You have to understand how little these guys have," Saima Jamal, a co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group told The Calgary Herald.
The group is now accepting $5 donations that will be used to buy hygiene items for Fort McMurray evacuees. Large swathes of the remote city have been devastated by the fire that consumed an estimated 1,600 buildings.
Fort McMurray's entire population was evacuated as the blaze approached. More than 1,000 firefighters are battling the flames as the fire continues to burn.