Strangers donate $170,000 to Syrian Refugee after photos with daughter go viral
Ever since a Syrian refugee was pictured selling pens on the street while holding his sleeping daughter, people around the world have been donating money to help him support his children and start a new life. The man has received almost $170,000 in donations.
The 35-year-old dad, Abdul Halim, captured the hearts of social media users after images of him carrying his sleeping daughter while attempting to make money on the streets of Beirut went viral on Twitter.
He was identified and tracked down in the Lebanese capital so that people could send him donations. As of Tuesday morning, a crowdfunding page for him had gathered donations from more than 6,280 people in 105 countries in only five days. The mission to help this man became known as the #BuyPens campaign.
In addition, local supporters have paid for Halim's apartment in southern Beirut for the next month and bought him food. Unfortunately, the money raised through the campaign will only reach Halim after the donation period ends on September 11. It can take up to 15 days for Halim to receive the funds. Campaign organizer Gissue Simonarson wrote:
"We are all very invested in this man's life now, and we want to make sure he gets help as soon as possible. Unfortunately we need to wait for this campaign to finish, which will take 10 more days. Then Indiegogo can take up to 15 days to process the funds before we get them. The good news is that [local activist and journalist] Carol Malouf is on the ground with Abdul. She has helped him get food, paid for his rent ... and has been working on getting his paperwork in order in Lebanon."
In a television interview, Halim said that he will use the donations to help his 4-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son go to school. He will then use the remaining money to help other Syrians. He told NBC News:
"My goal for their future is to teach them. I don't want them to stay with me on the streets. I don't want my daughter to stay on the streets, and I want to teach my son. That is all that matters to me, us."
"This campaign will change my life positively. I want to help my siblings and help the Syrians here in Lebanon. I want to help my parents, my siblings that live in Syria."
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