Photo Changes Life of Syrian Refugee
Donations pour in for Abdul Halim and his family after image goes viral
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2015 5:09 PM CDT
This tweet of a Syrian refugee selling pens went viral and helped raise enough money to send his children to school.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – A Syrian refugee now has money to send his children to school and help others who have fled his war-torn homeland—thanks to Twitter, a photo of him and his daughter selling pens, and the generosity of thousands of people around the world. CNN reports Norwegian activist Gissur Simonarson posted a photo Tuesday of a man holding his sleeping daughter while selling pens on the streets of Beirut because he found the picture emotional. "You see the look on his face and just the way he holds the pens out, as if those pens are everything he has in the world," he tells CNN. Within two days, activists hoping to help had found the man, 35-year-old Abdul Halim.

NBC News reports Simonarson set up a crowdfunding page for Halim, who fled Syria with his 9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, to raise $5,000 for the family; it received $125,000 within two days. Simonarson tells CNN Halim broke down in tears when he heard about the outpouring of generosity. Halim tells NBC he wants to use the money to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere and to send his children to school. "My goal for their future is to teach them," he says. "I don't want them to stay with me on the streets." Halim says he eventually wants to return to Syria, whose civil war has left at least 220,000 dead, because it's "the best country in the world."