LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Unrest in Syria has increased the immediacy for people to flee the country to search for a better way of life.

On Sunday, more than 700 people gathered at the Muslim Community Center for the first-ever local Syrian Refugee Souk.

Arts, crafts and plenty of food were available for anyone who wanted to share in the Syrian culture and raise awareness about the plight of Syrian refugees.

“It’s difficult to live there. We made the decision to move here and we are happy that we are here,” said Hasan Alloub, who moved to Louisville a year ago. Alloub and his brother are Syrian refugees and the only members of their family to make it to Louisville. 

The Souk is a way organizers hope to bring members of the community together to meet and learn more about Syrian culture and the experiences many of the 70 Louisville Syrian refugees have gone through.

“It’s making a very, very good relationship between cultures and countries,” Alloub said.

Keri Meador is with St. Agnes Refugee Ministry Team and is in charge of assimilating refugees into Louisville culture.

“We give them an opportunity to see the city. The library, the zoo, the Souk, so it’s a time for them to get out and meet some new people, network, find some additional resources, and just have some fun,” Meador said.

The money raised Sunday goes towards relief for Syrian families.

“Whether it’s for education or they are just hungry and curious to buy something – I think no matter the reason they are here and just their presence shows support,” Meador said.

Sunday’s Souk was a much bigger success than organizers planned – they ran out of food and sold most of the items in the first couple of hours.

Organizers now plan on making it an annual event.

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