A picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a picture is worth $170,000. A picture of an apparently very desperate man selling pens on the streets of Lebanon with his daughter asleep and slung across his shoulder has inspired an online fundraiser that has gone viral.

The poignant picture of the Palestinian refugee from Syria in Beirut, which went viral on social media, has inspired an enormous online donation campaign that has managed to crowdfund more than $170,000 over just the last two days with the total continuing to climb. Why this picture is the one that caught the public imagination cannot really be explained and yet the benefits cannot be undersold. The help that this money will do for the father and daughter combination as well as other Syrian refugees forced from their homes.

The “Help Abdul and Reem start a new life” campaign was started on Thursday of last week by Gissur Simonarson, an Icelandic journalist and activist in the area. He found Abdul Halim Attar’s family in Lebanon’s capital following a two-day search for the refugees eventually finding them and posting it to his twitter.


Simonarson, who alongside being an apparently phenomenal human, is also the founder of the news website Conflict. Simonarson has also started a Twitter account for the family, who had been forced to flee conflict in the Yarmouk district of Damascus. For those interested the account is https://twitter.com/Buy_Pens.

The campaign’s stated goal was to raise $5,000. That goal was surpassed by more than 26 times the amount after striking a chord with thousands of donators and social media users from across the world. The fundraiser’s momentum does not appear to be losing ground as donations continue to pour in for the family.

Simonarson has tweeted that Attar, the father in the photo, “wants to help other Syrian refugees” with the donations, “as well as send his children to school”.

The father of two is just one of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria who are struggling to survive in Lebanon with little help from the Beirut government after fleeing conflict at home.

Hopefully this campaign can continue on the path it is currently heading on. More and more money is being donated and can be put to good use helping people who need it the most.

For those of you interested in donating to this campaign the indiegogo link is: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-abdul-and-reem-start-a-new-life#/story