Refugee Selling Pens Saw Huge Outpouring, Now Owns Bakery, Hires Refugees

Refugee Selling Pens Saw Huge Outpouring, Now Owns Bakery, Hires Refugees

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BuyPens refugee screenshot Business Insider Twitter Gissur Simonarson

A refugee so destitute he was selling pens on the street to support his three children, now runs four businesses that employ 16 others who fled Syria. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, he’s paying it forward.

Just four months ago, a photo of Abdul Halim al-Attar, carrying his sleeping daughter on his shoulder as he offered pens for sale circulated around the world.

 

Norwegian journalist and web developer Gissur Simonarson started a campaign to raise $5,000 for the Syrian refugee who had landed in Lebanon. Before it was over, more than 6,000 people in 100 countries had contributed $191,000 to the #BuyPens campaign.

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“Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped,” al-Attar told the Associated Press.

He put the money to work for a better life — moving his kids into a two bedroom apartment and starting a business to bring in steady income.

RELATED:  Syrian Refugee Feeds Homeless to Thank Germany for Taking Him In

Opening first a bakery, al-Attar has since added a kebab shop and a small restaurant and has made it a point to help others like himself.

He’s hired 16 workers — all of them refugees.

(WATCH the video from Business Insider below) – Photo: Business Insider video; Gissur Simonarson, Twitter

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