Abdul Halim al-Attar is a Syrian refugee who was selling pens in the streets of Beirut in order to make a living for his children
But once a photo of Abdul selling his pens while holding his daughter hit the Internet, it went big-time viral. The picture featured his daughter Reem sleeping on his shoulder as he tried to market his pens to passerbys in the scorching heat. It touched people’s hearts across the globe.
The heartbreaking picture of his little one slumbering on her struggling father was almost too much for people to bear.
Now, thanks to an online crowdfunding campaign set up for him, Abdul has amassed a fund of $191,000. It was an online journalist and web developer in Norway named Gissur Simonarso who saw this man’s plight and decided he wanted to help.
He had no idea that his simple campaign would bring in nearly $200,000.
And Abdul is certainly putting it to good use. The 33-year-old father has opened 3 businesses with the new financial blessing. He started with a bakery two months ago, and later he opened a kebab shop and a small restaurant.
He went from pen seller on the street to quite the business entrepreneur, and he now employs 16 other Syrian refugees. There are approximately 1.2 million refugees registered in Lebanon, and it’s been extremely difficult for them to find jobs, so his 16 employees feel very lucky.
“Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped,” he said. He gave away about $25,000 to friends and family members in Syria.
On top of the new business ventures, Abdul has been able to move his children into a two-bedroom apartment where his 4-year-old daughter Reem and his 9-year-old son Abdullelah can now enjoy a more comfortable life.
Reem gets to play with her new plastic kitchen set and swing, and Abdullelah is back in school after being out for 3 years.
And Abdul has a newfound respect in the community as well. “They just greet me better now when they see me. They respect me more,” he said smiling.
One act of kindness by one man ignited a viral act of kindness from thousands of strangers pouring in their contributions.
What a wonderful reminder that no act for good is too small. After all, you never know when it could change someone’s entire life.