No condition is permanent. After every storm is a rainbow. In the case of a Syrian refugee father, photographed carrying his sleeping daughter while selling pens on the streets of Beirut, an unexpected but impressive global rainbow has changed the story of his life for good.
It all started on August 25th with a heartbreaking photo posted on Twitter by Gissur Simonarson, an activist from Oslo, Norway. He had no idea of who the man was. The picture went viral and drew sympathy from his more than 6000 followers and beyond. He was besieged by numerous requests to locate the man in the picture.
As daunting as the task of finding the man seemed, Simonarson was up for it. He turned to social media and launched a Twitter account #BuyPens. Within 30 mins, a twitter user @CaptainMaj wrote Simonarson saying he saw the man around his house on a daily basis.
Twenty four hours later, the man and daughter in the picture were identified as 35 year old Abdul, a single dad of two and his four and a half year old daughter Reem.
Simonarson immediately sought to raise money for Abdul and his family. He set up a crowdfunding page on Indigogo and in less than 30 mins, $5000 was raised.
He wrote: “We have reached my goal of $5,000 in the first 30 mins. This was never meant as a cap, just something to start with. Let’s make sure that Abdul and Reem can really start a great new life.
All extra donations will of course go directly to them as well.”
In 24 hours, $80,000 was raised. “I think that this campaign proves that humanity is not lost just yet =),” Simonarson tweeted to followers and encouraged them to keep giving online.
On hearing the amount raised, Simonarson says “Abdul just broke down and started crying. He was so thankful and he kept saying thank you for all your generosity.”
Abdul says he can finally send his two children to school and wants to help other refugees with the donated money.
As of today, $162,620 has been raised for Abdul.
This goes to show you just never know. Like Joseph in the Bible, Abdul woke up some days ago selling pens for peanuts to survive but today. he is $162, 620 richer.
May Olusola is the Founder and Publisher of Mannaexpressonline.