Over 80K dollars raised through crowdfunding for Syrian refugee
“It’s a terribly emotional picture,” says Gissur Simonarson. “You see the look in his face and just the way he holds the pens out, as if those pens are everything he has in the world.”
Last week, the Norwegian activist posted the picture of a man selling pens on the street in Beirut while carrying his sleeping daughter. Within just hours, requests poured in from all over the globe to help the man in the photo. His identity and the person who took the picture were unknown but through social media, the man was identified and with the help of crowdfunding over 80,000 dollars was raised to help him.
It took two days for Simonarson to find street merchant in the Lebanese capital. “Finally found him,” CNN quoted the activist’s tweet. “Been a lot of work, but it was worth it! Now lets help them!”
After finding the man, a refugee from Palestinian camp Yarmouk in Syria and a single father of two identified merely as Abdul, Simonarson started a crowdfunding page for the merchant with the target of raising 5,000 dollars.
The target was reached within half an hour but the contributions did not stop until the amount was raised to almost 80,000 dollars by 3,000 users within 24 hours.
“I think that this campaign proves that humanity is not lost just yet =),” tweeted Simonarson.
Abdul is only one of the four million refugees who have fled Syria since a conflict broke out in March 2011.
The refugee, who used to work in a chocolate factory before the crisis, said that apart from being able to send his children to school he could also help other refugees with the donated money.
“When he (Abdul) heard the amount, he just broke down and started crying,” Simonarson said, “He was so thankful and he kept saying thank you for all your generosity.”