A single tweet that contained a photo of a Syrian refugee father selling pens while holding his sleeping daughter in Beirut, Lebanon, went viral. Unbeknownst to tweeter Gissur Simonarson, this one tweet would change the father’s life forever.
Gissur Simonarson tweeted a photo of a Syrian refugee he saw while in Beirut, Lebanon. Simonarson initially tweeted the photo showing the dedicated father as he attempted to sell pens in the street while holding his sleeping daughter.
— Gissur Simonarson CN (@GissiSim) August 25, 2015
The tweet went viral and Simonarson decided to reach out to a Lebanese refugee charity in a bid to identify the dedicated dad.
Carol Malouf offered to help find the man and was able to locate him in a “modest home full of love.” CNN reports that the single father lived in a small home with his son, Abdelillah, 9, and daughter, Reem, 4. Simonarson says that after he posted the photo he had thousands of people asking how they can help the man. Therefore, Simonarson decided to setup an Indiegogo campaign to collect donations for the man identified by Malouf.
To Simonarson’s surprise, the campaign garnered worldwide attention with donations pouring in from 88 different countries.
Amazing! We have gotten donations from 88 different countries! #BuyPens
— Gissur Simonarson CN (@GissiSim) August 29, 2015
The campaign had an initial goal of $5,000 but within 30 minutes that goal was met and the father’s life would forever be changed. Despite raising in the initial $5,000, donations continued to pour in for the man and his two children.
“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. All extra donations will of course go directly to them as well.”
As of the time of this posting, the Indiegogo campaign has raised over $130,000 for the father. In total, 4,790 people have currently donated to the campaign and donations show no sign of slowing.
What did the single father have to say about the donations? Simonarson says he heard about the generosity he simply broke down.
“When he (Abdul) heard the amount, he just broke down and started crying,” Simonarson says, “He was so thankful and he kept saying thank you for all your generosity.”
[Image Credit: Twitter/ Indiegogo]