Crowdfunding Campaign Raises Over $70,000 in One Day for Refugee Selling Pens on Street

When Gissue Simonarson posted an image showing a father attempting to sell pens on a street in Beirut, Lebanon, with his sleeping daughter on his shoulder to his Twitter account, he probably never expected that he would soon be able to change their lives.

Simonarson, who describes himself as an activist, immediately began receiving requests from people to help out the man and his daughter. That’s when he decided to try and locate him.

It didn’t take long for someone to reach out to him with the whereabouts the subjects in the photograph. Within 30 minutes of creating a Twitter account called #BuyPens, Simonarson was contacted by someone that claimed he saw the man every single day near his home.

And 24 hours later, his search was a success.

The single father was identified as Abdul and his four-year-old daughter is named Reem. Together, with Reem’s sibling, they fled from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus in hopes of a better life.

After locating the family, Simonarson started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for them on Indiegogo.

It only took half an hour for donations to start rolling in.

“We have reached my goal of $5,000 in the first 30 min. 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,” said in an update on the campaign.

Simonarson told The Independent that he got in touch with “Unicef special protection unit to help get him to a safe location, and make sure he will not be taken advantage of. I’m also considering setting up some kind of fund that would give him payouts monthly, so he doesn’t end up with a bag of money, and not know what to do with it.”

If you want to help this family out by donating, visit Indiegogo.