Two teenage Syrian refugees are giving back to the homeless members of their community in Seattle. Brothers Yazan, 19, and Nabil Al-Salkini, 14, volunteer at a community events and recently participated in an event aimed at helping the homeless.
The event, “Day of Dignity” has been hosted by Seattle’s Muslim community for the last 10 years. During “Day of Dignity,” the Muslim community gives out sleeping bags, haircuts, and more to hundreds of homeless people in the Seattle area.
Yazan and Nabil volunteer at events such as this to give back to the community that has welcomed them. Their family left Syria more than four years ago fleeing civil war in the country. They lived in Jordan for three years before resettling in Seattle two months ago.
Yazan described why their family had to leave Syria. “Life stopped. We lost our home. It got bombed. Burned down. We couldn’t go to school because civil war started. We were about to be persecuted or killed,” he said.
Greg Klutcher, a veteran and homeless for six months received services at “Day of Dignity.” Klutcher expressed his appreciation and welcomed the refugees, “The whole reason veterans fought for what they did is so that people like that could come here. Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes,” Klutcher said.
Yazan has hope that Syrians will continue to be welcomed in the community. “I really have hope that other people from my community who are seeking help as I do, have opportunity to come here and start a new life, as we are starting to do,” he said.
About 40 Syrian refugees have resettled in the Pacific Northwest since the start of the civil war.