The Syrians of Bulgaria: Charity Starts at Home
(continued from Divided, Depleted and Dispirited - The Syrians of Bulgaria)
Many prominent members of the Syrian community in Bulgaria have poured time and money into helping their compatriots who arrived as refugees, fleeing war in the homeland.
Almost 20,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in Bulgaria since 2011, the peak coming in 2015. Very few have remained, however, with all but a few hundred opting to build a new life in more prosperous Western Europe.
Abu Kamal's kebab shop, for example, became a self-styled "refugee hub", with many Syrian refugees showing up to ask for assistance.
Abu Kamal also bought a warehouse to store clothes that were later handed out to refugees.
The anti-Assad group the Free Syria Association has handed out humanitarian aid packages, while its splinter group, the Syrian Democratic League, shows refugees and migrants around Sofia, giving them valuable tips on how to secure documents, a home or a job.
The ASB, the regime-affiliated group, also told BIRN it had been working with refugees.
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