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

Pictures can say more than a thousand words. In this case, this viral picture said just enough to garner a gym membership. A 12-year-old Syrian refugee living in Turkey was given a lifetime free gym membership after a photograph of him staring longingly at a fitness facility went viral. Mohammed Khaled is a 12-year-old boy from Syria who works as a shoe shiner in the Adiyaman province in southeastern Turkey.

The image, which was taken by a fellow gym-goer, reached viral status after thousands of people saw the photo of the young boy.

The photo shows Mohammed staring into the gym with a footstool (which he uses in his occupation as a shoe shiner) strapped to his back.

The gym’s owner, Engin Dogan, was notified of the picture and actively looked for the boy in order to offer him a free lifetime membership.

syrian-refugee-free-lifetime-gym-membershipHindustan Times

Engin said: ‘a boy [was here] looking through the gym window, wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his [backpack.]’

syrian-refugee-free-lifetime-gym-membershipHindustan Times

He continued: ‘our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here. And, we did it. He is one of our members now.’

syrian-refugee-free-lifetime-gym-membershipMirror

It was later revealed that all Mohammed wanted to do was to get a gym membership, work out and to lose weight.

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In an interview with the state-run agency, Anadolu, Mohammed said: ‘he found me and helped me. I had always dreamed of losing weight and now I believe I can do that by working out.’

syrian-refugee-free-lifetime-gym-membershipHindustan Times

He was later pictured by Anadolu lifting weights and exercising inside of the gym and Mohammed has also said that he is very ‘pleased’ with the opportunity.

syrian-refugee-free-lifetime-gym-membershipInstagram

During an interview with Turkish newspaper Sabah, one of the gym’s owners, Mustafa Kucukkaya said: ‘it affected me very much because we came from nothing and we did not have such a gym in our time.’

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He continued: ‘the Turkish people are very sensitive about this issue, I am very touched. I think we are doing something very good.’

syrian-refugee-free-lifetime-gym-membershipMirror

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