— Helmi|حلمي (@Helmiyousif) May 21, 2016
Akram Al Masalma arrived in Canada two years ago from Syria as a refugee with the help of the Halifax Refugee Clinic. On Saturday, Al Masalma ran the Blue Nose 5K, part of one of Eastern Canada’s largest race weekends, in support of the clinic.
The merchant marine officer by trade completed the run in 27:07 along with more than 10 other teammates who ran for the Halifax Refugee Clinic team. Al Masalma was on the national swim team in Syria before immigrating to Canada.
— NS Immigration (@nsimmigration) May 22, 2016
“Running in the Blue Nose 5K is a chance to connect with my new community while supporting a good cause,” said Al Masalma before the race. “It means a lot to be able to give back to the Halifax Refugee Clinic. They helped me in my claim to stay in Canada and they helped me find a place to live. They were my first connection here in Nova Scotia and I want to support them.”
The Halifax Refugee Clinic is a not-for-profit, community-based organization that provides no-cost services to refugees unable to afford legal counsel when moving to Canada. The clinic, which is reliant on volunteers, also offers English lessons to those new to Canada.
The clinic represented Al Masalma when he was applying for status to Canada. He’s still waiting to hear back about permanent residency status, according to Metro News.
Saturday marked the third year that the Halifax Refugee Clinic fielded a team at the Nova Scotia race. They hoped to raise up to $15,000 this time around. The 5K on May 21 had 1,774 participants. Blue Nose race weekend included a youth run, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon.
Al Masalma’s pre-race interview can be found below: