How Social Media bailed out a Syrian Refugee and raised $80K in 24 hours?

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This is a remarkable story that rekindles hope in humanity and proves the world is indeed a global village. When Twitter user and activist Gissur Simonarson (@GissiSim) based out of Oslo posted a picture of a Syrian refugee ( Abdul) selling pens on the streets of Beirut , the response he got bowled him over.


To an interview to CNN Simonarson said, ; "It's a terribly emotional picture. You see the look in his face and just the way he holds the pens out, as if those pens are everything he has in the world."

Within minutes he was inundated with requests from across the world on how to help this poor single father with 2 young kids. But Simonarson had no clue on who took the picture and he just posted that picture. But after two days a concerted search campaign on social media and at ground zero he discovered Abdul.


Simonarson created a crowd funding page and launched a campaign called #BuyPens and set a target of $ 5K but to his surprise within 30 minutes that target was achieved and by 24 hours it has exceeded $80 K. It’s amazing to note 3,000 people from across 88 countries have contributed.Overwhelmed, Abdul once working in chocolate factory in pre war Syria is looking forward to sending his two daughters to school.


Amazing story indeed.

At the end of the day, Abdul happens to be one lucky guy and a recipient of such a rare global gesture. But as we probe deeper, we see so many Abdul’s   on our very own roads- ‘refugees and nomads with a country’ – and many are not so lucky as they toil till the end. It is in this context social media like Twitter yet again proves that a ‘collective human consciousness’ can indeed create wonders and make a different to an individual in need and in adversity.

twitter gissur-simonarson buypens syrian-war abdul