Web campaign raises $67,800 for Syria refugee family in a day

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 28, 2015 1:53 PM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - An online fundraiser has raised more than $67,800 for a refugee from Syria and his daughter after a campaigner based in Norway shared moving pictures on social media of the man selling pens in the streets of Beirut.

Gissur Simonarson, founder of Conflict News, posted the pictures on Tuesday and was flooded with requests to help the man, a Palestinian from the devastated Yarmouk refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus.

The pictures showed Abdul, a single father of two, holding up pens on a roadside in Lebanon's capital, his 4-year-old daughter Reem asleep on his shoulder, according to Simonarson's funding page.

A subsequent online campaign, which had initially aimed to raise $5,000, collected as much as $67,800 in 24 hours according to the page.

"It's nice to see people come together and make a difference in another person's life," Simonarson wrote.

Lebanon is home to well over 1 million refugees from Syria's war next door and such scenes are common in Beirut. Young refugee children sell flowers, packs of tissues or offer to shine shoes for a small sum.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)