The Syrian refugees in Canada may have arrived not too long ago and have very little money, but that did not deter them from coming forward in helping the residents displaced due to the Fort McMurray wildfires. They have started a donation drive which will help purchase pillows, toiletries, and other essential household items for those affected by the wildfires.

At least 30 Syrian refugee families in Calgary have donated between US$5 – US$20 (AU$6.77- AU$27.6) to the drive. A five-year-old Syrian boy donated two of his toys and some storybooks to those in need.

“They can completely relate — this is what happened to them. They lost everything,” CTV News quoted Saima Jamal, co-founder of the Calgary-based Syrian Refugee Support Group, as saying. “Of all the Canadians here now, these people are most attuned to what it means to lose all your stuff, your house, your memories, even your loved ones. They have lost their entire country.”

The idea first came to Rita Khanchet, a Syrian refugee who arrived Canada with her husband and son in December. The images of the raging wildfires engulfing everything that fell in its way reminded Khanchet of the country she left behind only a few months back.

“It’s not easy to lose everything. We can understand them more than anyone in Canada. We were in the same situation,” the Calgary Herald quoted Khanchet as saying. “Me and my family wanted to do something for these people. Canadian society helped us when we came to Canada.”

Syrians in Calgary like Khanchet have come forward to help the Canadians after Khanchet posted a message in Arabic on a private Facebook group, urging them to extend a helping hand to the victims of the Fort McMurray wildfires.

“It’s amazing. You have to understand how little these guys have … But they understand the idea of an entire city losing their home,” said Jamal. “That’s something they can easily relate to. They went through that.”