Syria is a mess. Not only are many innocent people getting killed, but their pets are being abandoned as well. Now Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel drives to the local butcher shop and purchases $2.50 worth of scraps. The sympathetic proprietor often gives Aljaleel a discount or even throws in some bits and bones for free. Along with everyone else in this part of Aleppo, Syria, the butcher knows Aljaleel isn’t purchasing the meat for himself but for 150 street cats.

Aljaleel first noticed a few strays hanging around the rubble of a home destroyed by an airstrike. He felt compelled to feed them. Soon five animals turned into 10, then 20—as he says, “cats always find out when there’s food around”—and on up until the colony reached the estimated 150 that he watches over today.

“It brings the kids so much joy to play with them,” Aljaleel says. “I take great pride in the work I’m doing.”

If Syrians in a war-torn country can help abandoned cats survive, perhaps there’s still some good in the world after all. To read more about Syria’s abandoned cats, click here.