Campaign raises $130,000 for Syria refugee family
Picture of desperate man selling pens in Lebanon’s streets with daughter inspired online fundraiser that has gone viral.
A poignant picture of a desperate Palestinian refugee from Syria selling pens as his sleeping daughter hung over his shoulder in the streets of Beirut, which went viral on social media, has inspired an online donation campaign that crowdfunded more than $130,000 over just the last two days.
The “Help Abdul and Reem start a new life” campaign was started on Thursday by Gissur Simonarson, an Icelandic journalist and activist, after he found Abdul Halim Attar’s family in Lebanon’s capital following a two-day search.
Finally found him =) Been a lot of work, but it was worth it! Now lets help them!https://t.co/Fcg59KTbbh pic.twitter.com/SjIDmytCeG
— Gissur Simonarson 🇮🇸🏴 (@GissiSim) August 27, 2015
Simonarson, the founder of the news website Conflict, also started a Twitter account for the family, who had fled conflict in the Yarmouk district of Damascus.
The campaign’s stated goal of raising $5,000 was surpassed by more than 26 times the amount after striking a chord with thousands of donators and social media users from across the world.
The fundraiser’s momentum does not appear to be losing ground as donations continue to pour in.
Simonarson has tweeted that Attar “wants to help other Syrian refugees” with the donations, “as well as send his children to school”.
The father of two is just one of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria who are struggling to survive in Lebanon with little help from the Beirut government after fleeing conflict at home.