Like many Syrian refugees, Alex Assali has lost a lot and endured countless hardships.
But that's not stopping him from giving back.
After fleeing Syria in 2007 without a passport, Assali lived in Libya for several years. He was finally able to call Germany home in 2014. Now, he's giving back to the country that gave him asylum.
Assali spends most of his Saturdays cooking large amounts of food, setting up stalls around Berlin, and serving homeless people.
The Syrian refugee's inspiring story went viral this week after his friend Tabea Bü posted a photo of him serving food on Facebook.
Assali spends his own money on the food he distributes "even though he has not even a lot," wrote Bu in her Facebook post, which now has more than 1.7K shares.
According to Buzzfeed, Assali has been unable to find work since moving to Berlin, but still saves 120 euros per month to feed others. Syrian refugees in Germany usually receive about 359 euros from the government each month, reports International Business Times.
While his story is certainly heartwarming, Bü posted on Facebook saying the pair was "really overwhelmed" by the positive response to Assali's story.
We're not at all surprised by the attention this wonderful act of kindness has received.Also on HuffPost:
More than 10 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes due to the conflict, becoming either “internally displaced” or fleeing altogether, according to Amnesty International.
The UNHCR’s latest figures show the crisis is getting worse. More than 7.6m Syrians have been displaced within the country by the conflict, fleeing to safer areas.
By December 2014, 3.8 million Syrians had fled the country altogether. They sought refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. A sizeable proportion then make the perilous journey to Europe. These numbers may well have increased since the last count, given the advance of Isis and the continued battle between rebel groups and pro-government forces.
The Gulf Cooperation Council's oil-rich states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates accept very few refugees and asylum seekers from Syria. Since 2011, the UNHCR has supported 63 Syrians with asylum applications in the countries – but just 33 were accepted, despite the UN's support. Amnesty International has called Gulf states’ contribution “shocking”, the states themselves say they are providing thousands of visitor visas for Syrians, but also protecting against the threat of Islamist extremist attacks.
Full Fact reports that Britain has granted asylum to just under 5,000 Syrians in the initial decision made on their applications since 2011. In addition, 216 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the UK. Resettlement includes transferring refugees from Syria to the UK – whilst a person has to be in a country to claim asylum there.
Aside from Germany, the other 27 EU nations have pledged just 6,305 places to Syrians to resettle, last year. That’s 0.17% of the number of refugees that have fled Syria. While EU nations are likely to significantly increase the number of resettlement places this year – Germany still takes a lion’s share of those seeking refuge.
Amnesty International says that – by June 2015 – only 2.2% of Syrian refugees have been offered places to resettle by the international community. That’s less than 90,000. And money is short too. “The UN’s humanitarian appeal for Syrian refugees was only 23% funded as of the 3 June,” it wrote.
In 1951, 145 nations ratified the Refugee Convention governing the treatment of those fleeing persecution. Yet just a fraction of these have offered to help so far.