Syrian Refugee Uses Crowdfunding Donations To Employ Fellow Asylum Seekers

by : UNILAD on : 03 Dec 2015 20:12
Gissur Simonarson/Twitter

A Syrian refugee, who sparked an online crowdfunding campaign after being seen selling pens on the streets of Beirut while carrying his daughter, has used donations to provide work for fellow asylum seekers.


Abdul Halim al-Attar’s plight was highlighted on Twitter as he sold biros in order to feed his kids, before the internet took over in a bid to aid his family.

The campaign has so far raised over $191,000 (£127,000), enabling the 33-year-old to set up three businesses and employ 16 other victims of the crisis in Syria.

Abdul has opened a restaurant, a bakery, and a kebab shop saying that he knew he needed to invest the funds.


He told the Associated Press:

Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped.

I had to invest the money, otherwise it will be lost…when God wants to grant you something, you’ll get it.”

He also said that he had given away about $25,000 (£17,000) to friends and family that remained in Syria.

Hussein Malla/Associated Press

Sadly not all the money has been received by Abdul, with only 40 per cent of funds being successfully transferred so far as Paypal does not operate in Lebanon. Money has instead been sent in small lumps by a campaigner in Dubai.

Despite the charitable motive, $20,000 (£13,000) has been claimed by Indiegogo and Paypal in processing fees.

Credit to the guys and girls who donated, and to Abdul for putting it to a use that will sustain his family for years to come. Hopefully the full funds reach him soon.

Topics: News


The Independent
  1. The Independent

    #BuyPens: Syrian refugee photographed selling pens to feed children uses crowdfunding to start businesses