Syrian refugee in Sudan aims to show how refugees can make a difference

by Reuters
Wednesday, 2 December 2020 11:12 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Syrian refugees arrive at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria August 29, 2012. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

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Syrian refugee Salam Kanoush says he wants to prove that refugees can bring about change and has devoted his time to helping other refugees and people in need

HAMDEYAT, Sudan, Dec 2 (Reuters) - A Syrian refugee living in Sudan, who says he wants to show how refugees can make a difference, is helping to supply clean water to Ethiopians fleeing conflict at home.

Student Salam Kanoush, 29, fled Syria in 2016. He says he was kidnapped and robbed while leaving Aleppo and bombing attacks made it unsafe for him to remain at his university in Damascus.

Kanoush says his mission is to prove that refugees can bring about change and has devoted his free time to helping other refugees and people in need.

"In Sudan I wanted to give an example that refugees are not really problems," he told Reuters.

"Now we hear refugees are related to sadness and poor people and they are always in need, but we are not like that, some people can really make a change."

Volunteering for the Italian aid organisation COOPI, Salam works on purifying water, setting up transport routes and locating water sources to help Ethiopians arriving at the Hamdeyat border reception centre.

Salam has also volunteered in other refugee camps during his time in Sudan and has founded an organisation in Sudan's eastern Kassala state that empowers women and young people to start their own businesses.

A month-long war in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region has sent 45,000 refugees into neighbouring Sudan.

(Reporting by Baz Ratner and Seham Eloraby, editing by Giles Elgood)