Syrian refugees hope to rebuild houses for Fort McMurray fire victims

Falah Alizzi, president of the Muslim Society of Waterloo and Wellington County, plans to help out Fort McMurray in more ways than one.
Fundraiser Falah Alizzi hopes to lead Syrian refugees to Fort McMurray to rebuild destroyed homes for fire victims. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Syrian refugees from the Waterloo area are hoping to help out their fellow Canadians by rebuilding houses in Fort McMurray for fire victims in the coming weeks.

Falah Alizzi, president of the Muslim Society of Waterloo and Wellington County, said he has a good connection with many of the Syrian refugees living in the Waterloo area and reached out to ask for their help.

"We have a mission," Alizzi said. "Let's go and rebuild all these homes in Fort McMurray."

He said they are very skillful in tiling and concrete work, and many have a construction background.

"Not a single one of them said no. They all said yes we will help for free," said Alizzi.

He is hoping that they will be able to take a bus to Fort McMurray help out sometime soon. Alizzi said that this trip will be on top of the $10,000 the Waterloo Mosque is already planning to donate to the Red Cross.

Fundraising plan

Alizzi said that so far the Mosque has raised about $4000 to donate to the Red Cross, and adds that this isn't the first time that the Waterloo Mosque has held a fundraiser like this.

In the past, the Mosque has raised money to help with disasters overseas, including an earthquake in Pakistan, and a tsunami in Indonesia.

"This time it's happening at home," said Alizzi. "It's time to help our fellow Canadians."

Alizzi is hoping that the Mosque will meet their fundraising goal before Ramadan begins in June, but he says they will continue fundraising if their goal has not been reached by then.

"If it needs to be during Ramadan, yes we will do it."