Over $160,000 has been raised after this photo of a Syrian refugee trying to sell pens went viral
A heartbreaking photo of a Syrian refugee selling blue ballpoint pens on the streets of Lebanon went completely viral - now over $160,000 has been raised on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help the man and his young daughter, pictured sleeping on the man's shoulder.
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In his own words, Simonarson explains how he ended up launching an Indiegogo campaign to help Abdul Kader and his 9-year-old daughter Reem:
I (@GissiSim) shared two photos of a Syrian Refugee and his sleeping daughter selling pens on the streets of Beirut, Lebanon. I was overwhelmed with requests to help this man, so I decided to see if I could locate them. Within 30 min of tweeting the photo with @Conflicts account, I was pointed to a twitter user @CaptainMaj, who told me that he saw this man every day around his house. Next I got contacted by Jessy El Murr (@JessyTrendSKY) from Sky News Arabia who got me in touch with Carol Malouf (@carolmalouf) who runs an aid organization Lebanese4Refugees.
The Twitter account @Buy_Pens (#BuyPens) was also created by Simonarson, and currently has several thousand followers:
The story of Kader and his daughter caught international attention.
The Indiegogo campaign began on August 26, and has raised over $160,000, though the original goal was to raise just $5,000 in fifteen days. Abdul and Reem will receive all of the money that is raised, and Simonarson has said he's working with Unicef to make sure that transaction goes smoothly.
"I was surprised to know that people abroad heard about my story and care about my kids," Kader told BuzzFeed News. "I couldn't hold my tears. I kept saying, 'Thank god, thank god,' and hugging my kids."
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