Five Percent of Iceland’s Population Volunteer to Take in Syrian Refugees

Five Percent of Iceland’s Population Volunteer to Take in Syrian Refugees

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reykjavik sun voyager memorial CC UKEAStw

Iceland may be cold most of the year, but it’s full of warm hearts.

After the government said it would take in only 50 refugees from Syria, 16,000 Icelanders volunteered to open their homes for more refugees. That’s five percent of the country’s population.Abdul and Reem 1 Indiegogo BuyPens

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The crisis in Syria has caused a flood of refugees into Europe, including more than a thousand unaccompanied children. Iceland, along with all EU countries, are being called upon to assist with the massive influx.

Not many Icelanders, though, thought their government’s offer was good enough.

Brissoklippt CC Óli GneistiIn response to the nation’s meager welcoming, author and professor Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir set up a Facebook page. More than 10,000 people signed up in the first 24 hours, and the volunteers keep coming.

“I’m a single mother with a 6-year-old son,” Hekla Stefansdottir posted to the page. “We can take a child in need. We have clothes, a bed, toys and everything a child needs.”

She even offered to pay for the child’s plane ticket.

The outpouring has been so fast and overwhelming, Iceland’s Welfare Minister, Eyglo Hardardottir, now says the government is rethinking its position and may be willing to accept more Syrian refugees.

(READ more at The Telegraph) — Photos: Ronile, CC; UKEAStw, CC; Óli Gneisti, CC

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