13,000 Icelanders Volunteer To Take In Syrian Refugees

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Around 13,000 Icelanders are volunteering to host Syrian refugees in their homes after the government puts a cap on hosting refugees.

Iceland, Europe migrants

In response to the overwhelming mass of Syrians fleeing to Turkey and Europe, the Icelandic government decided to aid in the humanitarian cause by offering to take in 50 refugees. But Icelanders did not think that the effort was compassionate enough and now 13,000 Iceland citizens are volunteering to host refugees in their homes.

The heartfelt idea was initiated by Icelandic author Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir urging his fellow citizens to offer greater assistance to refugees and pressure the government to change their tone of action.

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"I think people have had enough of seeing news stories from the Mediterranean and refugee camps of dying people and they want something done now," Bjorgivnsdottir said in an interview with Icelandic public television channel RUV.

About 13,000 Icelanders have responded to the plea on Facebook not only offering space in their homes, but clothing and food as well.

"I'm a single mother with a 6-year-old son... We can take a child in need. I'm a teacher and would teach the child to speak, read and write Icelandic and adjust to Icelandic society. We have clothes, a bed, toys and everything a child needs. I would of course pay for the airplane ticket," wrote Hekla Stefansdottir in a post.

Others also posted on the page with messages of support, according to Iceland Review:

“I’m happy to look after children, take them to kindergarten, school and wherever they need. I can cook for people and show them friendship and warmth. I can pay the airfare for one small family. I can contribute with my expertise and assist pregnant women with pre-natal care.”

 

 “I would like to help: I have clothing, kitchenware, bed and a room in Hvanneyri [West Iceland], which I am happy to share with Syrians. I would like to work as a volunteer to help welcome people and assist them with adapting to Icelandic society.”

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Syrians responded with gratitude for the touching efforts.

syrian migrants

The Icelandic government has responded to the collective action with promises to reconsider their original plans.

"I believe there is solidarity on that we should do more to respond to the problem, we just have to find out the best way to do it,” Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said.

Gunnlaugsson is proposing establishing a committee of ministers to evaluate how to handle the refugee problem amid growing pressure from Icelanders.

Read more: Saudi Arabia King Donates Millions To Syrian Refugees But Won’t Take Them In

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