Over 11,000 Icelanders have volunteered to offer Syrian refugees a roof over their head, after the government announced it would only be accepting 50 people this year.
Icelandic author and Professor Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir created a Facebook page last Sunday urging members of the public to push the government to increase the number of refugees it would take in. Messages on the wall later offered housing, clothes, schooling and food.
Hekla Stefansdottir wrote that she was a single mother with a six-year-old child but was prepared to take children in need. She noted that she was a teacher and would teach the kid how to speak, read and write in the local language as well as adjust to the society. She added that she had a bed, clothes, toys and everything else a child would need, and that she would even pay the airfare.
In response to Icelanders’ willingness to house the refugees, Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has put a committee of ministers in place to discuss allowing a greater number into the country. He explained that Iceland’s aim in international politics was to help in as many areas as possible, and the refugee situation is a key area that they needed to help in right now.
More than four million people have fled Syria, while a further 7.6 million remain displaced in their homeland, according to figures from the UN.