08/10/2015 23:11 EDT | Updated 08/10/2016 01:12 EDT

Survivor of Somalia hostage-taking helps girl who survived brutal attack

WINNIPEG — A freelance journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia has joined the growing list of Canadians stepping forward to help out a Manitoba girl who survived a vicious attack of her own.

Amanda Lindhout issued a plea on Facebook recently asking for donations of Air Miles to help Rinelle Harper and her mother get to St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia to meet with officials about the possibility of a scholarship.

The teenager was left to die beside a river in Winnipeg after a brutal assault last year, but survived and continues to recover, occasionally speaking out publicly about her ordeal.

Last month, her family's home on the Garden Hill First Nation burned to the ground, prompting an online Go-Fund-Me campaign that raised more than $16,000 to help the girl and her family.

Lindhout, who was held hostage for more than a year in Somalia and has written a book about her ordeal, first connected with the Harper family earlier this summer and posted her Air Miles plea on the weekend.

It wasn't long before she posted again, saying that two women named Leah Brown and Rosanne Alldis had offered the miles necessary to secure flights for the meeting on Aug. 19.

Rinelle's mother, Julie, issued a statement of her own saying her family has been "overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness" shown to them.

"So many have donated and we are so moved by the generosity shown to us," she wrote. "We are so proud to be Canadian and we thank all those who keep us in their prayers."



The Canadian Press