A photo of two exhausted Syrian refugees, a father holding his daughter while trying to sell pens on the street, inspired a worldwide outpouring of sympathy and compassion – raising more than $150,000 to help them start a new life.
Gissur Simonarson, a human rights activist in Norway, was moved to help the man when he saw a photo series on social media. After sharing the pictures, he was flooded with requests from others who wanted to help the man, but Simonarson had to track him down first.
He turned back to social media, creating a Twitter account named #BuyPens and asking people to help identify the man in this picture.
Within 24 hours, Simonarson had found and identified the pair — Abdul Halim, a single father of two children, and his four-year-old daughter, Reem — Syrian refugees living in Beirut.
Simonarson made contact and started an Indiegogo account, hoping to raise $5,000 to help the man out. His campaign reached its goal in just 30 minutes, and money has kept pouring in — from more than 5,900 people so far. As of this morning, the total was $162,147.
He wants to make sure Abdul isn’t taken advantage of, and he’s also looking into setting up an account that will give the man and his kids monthly payments, so Abdul won’t have to carry so much money around with him.
Halim is overwhelmed by the generous support from upwards of 6,000 people in more than 100 countries. He says he’ll use the money to send Reem and his eight-year-old son, Abdalla, to school.
“This campaign will change my life,” Halim told NBC News, “I want to help my siblings and help the Syrians here in Lebanon.”
(READ more at the Independent)
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