A Syrian native helps a new family of refugees move into their Puget Sound apartment in Tukwila.

Share story

Osama Shams Eddin misses his birthplace. “I love every single thing in Syria,  seriously, everything … except the government,” he said. Shams Eddin, 26, now living in Des Moines, was born in Aleppo to Syrian parents and raised mainly in Saudi Arabia. He came alone to the United States on a student visa nearly two years ago, and has connected with refugee families here in the Seattle area to help ease their transition.

Recently Shams Eddin brought five friends, mostly from his English as a Second Language class, to help the Al-Asfar family refugees from Syria who arrived in Januarymove from their first apartment in Kent to a nicer place in Tukwila. He’s assisted refugees from Somalia, Iraq and Syria, and said it means a lot to him to be able to help. “Most refugees, when they come here, they don’t speak English properly,” he said. “I try my best to make it easier on them.”

Shams Eddin connected with the Al-Asfar family through the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, or MAPS, mosque in Redmond. He said he feels a kinship with other Syrians who have been mistreated and forced to leave. “The Syrian government, back then, they came to my house, many times. I know how they treat people,” he said. “Thank God I’m here now.”