Syrian Refugee Found by Social Media; Helped Dad A New Start

With a boost from social media, an anonymous pen seller in Beirut, Lebanon became a Syrian refugee success story.

Last week when an activist from Oslo, Norway Gissur Simonarson posted a photo of a father who was selling pens on the streets of Beirut and along with that he cradled his sleeping daughter.

Simonarson told, “It’s a terribly emotional picture. You see the look in his face and just the way he holds the pens out, as if those pens are everything he has in the world.”

Once it was posted, request poured in from around the world within an hour, to help that merchant in the photo.

But there were no details of the man and who captured that photograph.

This was the reason which striked social media to come in picture, with the activists asking others to give helping hand to Simonarson in locating the anonymous pen seller with #BuyPens.

And there it is, after a two-day search with many people efforts, Simonarson located Abdul.

The activist wrote on Twitter, “Finally found him, Been a lot of work, but it was worth it! Now lets help them!”

He is a single father of two kids; he was overwhelmed to learn that he was the international search subject. Also, his daughter, a 4 year old kid was very excited and they were asked to take the selfie with the activists Carol Malouf, who succeeded in finding the family.

Malouf wrote on Twitter, “Reem came to me, hugged me & asked to take a selfie. What a lovely lively child. A modest home full of love.”

The social turns up to the promise to help Abdul, who fled in one of the most beleaguered places in a crowd funding page was setup by Simonarson to collect $5,000 for the struggling family of three.

The #BuyPens campaign reached its goal, just within the 30 minutes.

As Simonarson urges them to keep giving online, he tweeted to the followers, “I think that this campaign proves that humanity is not lost just yet”. Nearly 3,000 people had raised more than $80,000 in just 24 hours,

Simonarson says, “When he (Abdul) heard the amount, he just broke down and started crying. He was so thankful and he kept saying thank you for all your generosity.”

The 35-year-old Abdul says that, he would be able to finally send his two kids to school with the money. He is also willing to help other refugees with the donated money.

One social media user wrote in Arabic, “Thank you to everyone who put a smile on the face of Reem and her father. We have accomplished something with this case. Please look for more cases like this.”