This Syrian Refugee Sold Pens To Survive, But Look At What He’s Doing Now…

News |

ADVERTISEMENT

Abdul Halim al-Attar, a Palestinian refugee from Syria, used to sell pens on the streets of Beiruit.

Abdul Halim al-Attar, a refugee from Syria, used to sell pens on the streets of Beirut to survive. According to AP, online journalist and web developer in Norway, Gissur Simonarson, created the Twitter account @Buy_Pens where he posted a photograph of al-Attar in action with his daughter draped over his shoulder.

Simonarson also started an Indiegogo campaign to raise a total of $5,000 for the family. After three months, the campaign raked in nearly $190,000 in donations.

Al-Attar, a father of two, has since opened three food businesses in Lebanon where he employs other refugees. He has also shared about $25,000 with friends and family. He and his wife, who has returned to Syria, are currently separated.

He has now moved with his two children, 4-year-old daughter Reem and 9-year-old son Abdullelah, from a one bedroom to a two bedroom apartment in southern Beiruit. Abdullelah was able to return to school after three years of absence.

Disbursement of the funds, however, has been a struggle. Al-Attar has received only 40 percent of about $168,000, the total after Indiegogo and Paypal processing and banking fees. In addition, Paypal does not operate in Lebanon, and al-Attar has had to rely on a friend of the campaign to withdraw the money in Dubai.

Though it is unknown when he will receive the rest of his money, al-Attar remains positive. He says that he is treated better and better, and feels more like a member of the community among both Lebanese and Syrians.


Twitter

Journalist Gissur Simonarson created Twitter and Indiegogo accounts to help raise money for the family. His efforts resulted in over $190,000 of donations.

Twitter

Al-Attar has since opened three businesses.

Hussein Malla/AP

Al-Attar stands outside his bakery on Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Hussein Malla/AP

"When God wants to grant you something, you'll get it," he told AP with a smile despite disbursement issues. The father of two has received only 40 percent of $168,000, the total after processing and banking fees.

Hussein Malla/AP

Even still, life has improved for the al-Attar family.

Hussein Malla/AP

In terms of housing, the family is now able to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Hussein Malla/AP

Reem will be able to start school while brother Aboudi, pictured right, will be able to return after three years of absence.

Twitter

ADVERTISEMENT


Visit the @Buy_Pens Twitter account for more information.

Share On Facebook