Gym Gives 12-Year-Old Syrian Refugee Lifetime Membership After Photo Goes Viral

January 10, 2018 Updated: January 10, 2018    

A Syrian refugee has been given free lifetime membership at his local gym after a photo of him staring longingly through its window went viral.

Muhammad Hussein, 12, who works as a shoeshiner, was pictured gazing at the equipment inside the gym in the southeastern province of Adiyaman, Turkey, in a photo that won the hearts of many in the country.

The picture of the young boy, who fled the war in Syria, caught the eye of gym owner Engin Doğan.

“A boy, looking through the gym window, wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his bagpack… Our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here,” Doğan said to the Hurriyet News.

“And, we did it. He is one of our members now,” he said.

Doğan owns the gym with Mustafa Küçükkaya and Dicle Oma.

Speaking with Saba, Küçükkaya said: “It affected me very much because we came from nothing and we did not have such a gym in our time. The Turkish people are very sensitive about this issue, I am very touched, I think we are doing something very good.”

According to the Independent, the young Syrian boy spoke with Turkish news agency Anadolu.

“He found me and helped me,” he said. “I had always dreamed of losing weight and now I believe I can do that by working out.”

Hussein was photographed with the gym owners on Küçükkaya’s Instagram account.

The image has struck a chord with many, bringing home the realities of children who have been displaced by the conflict in Syria.

Many people have taken to Twitter to express how moved they were by the kind gesture.

“Brought tears to my eyes. Too many good people on this earth,” wrote Kódi‏.

 

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