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

This Syrian Refugee Sold Pens To Survive, But Look At What He’s Doing Now… December 4, 2017

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.