Syrian man selling pens in viral photo now runs businesses, employs fellow refugees

  • The Syrian refugee in a viral photo is now running two bakeries and a restaurant
  • He used the money donated on Indiegogo following a worldwide campaign
  • He has also employed 16 other refugees and hopes to add more
  • However, he received only 40 percent of the total funds, so far because of the complicated disbursement process

Halim moved his family to a more decent apartment (Credit: Kicker Daily News)

The Syrian man in a heartbreaking photo in August is now running three businesses using the money from the crowd-funding website donated by generous donors after his photo went viral on the internet.

Abdul Halim al-Attar, a 33-year-old refugee from Syria, has been the subject of a worldwide campaign after he was photographed selling pens under the scorching heat of Beirut street in Lebanon while carrying her daughter on his shoulders.

A total of a little over $191,000 was raised on Indiegogo as of early December, while another $2,324 donations from around the world poured in directly.

Halim had since opened two bakeries and has just added a kebab shop and restaurant to his business. He also employed 16 Syrian refugees to help him run them.

“Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped,” said Halim; who also gave out $25,000 to his friends and relatives in Syria.

Aside from opening businesses, Halim has also moved his family from the once shabby, one-bedroom flat to a two-bedroom apartment.

His daughter, 4-year-old Reem, is now playing toys which include a plastic kitchenware, a swing and a stuffed bear; things she never get to play with in a country torn by war and atrocities since her birth.


Halim’s son, 9-year-old Abdullelah, is also back in school after more than 3 years of absence. The family is separated from the mother who has since gone back to Syria. (Click here to read more) 


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