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Syrian Refugee Selling Pens While Holding Daughter Sparks Huge Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign

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Images of a Syrian father clutching a handful of pens in a bid to sell them to passersby while carrying his daughter, slumped over his shoulder, have sparked a huge fundraising campaign.

Thousands of pounds were raised after pictures were circulated of a Syrian refugee with his sleeping daughter on the streets of Beirut, Lebanon.

The photographs led to a staggering $5,000 (£3,200) being raised in just 30 minutes of the campaign being launched. At the time of writing, the sum had reached $45,000 (£29,200) within 16 hours.

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Abdul holding his daughter, Reem, while selling pens

The images show Abdul, a Palestinian Syrian from the Yarmouk refugee camp, holding his four-year-old daughter, Reem.

The picture was posted on Twitter by Gissur Simonarson.

On the Indiegogo fundraising page set up for the refugee and his family, it says that Abdul is a single father-of-two. His other child, Abdelillah, is nine years old.

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This image sparked a huge fundraising campaign

Simonarson shared photos of a Syrian refugee with his sleeping daughter and was inundated with requests to help the man.

He launched a Twitter account called #BuyPens and within 30 minutes of starting his search he was contacted by the someone who saw the refugee every day around his house.

Simonarson wrote on the fundraising page: "Long story short, we were able to find him and now have a secure way to get this man the money we raise here.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported this. It's nice to see people come together and make a difference in another persons life."

After 30 minutes of fundraising, Simonarson provided an update: "We have reached my goal of $5,000 in the first 30 min. This was never meant as a cap, just something to start with.

"Let's make sure that Abdul and Reem can really start a great new life. All extra donations will of course go directly to them as well."

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Simonarson said that he has never been involved in something like this before, but that the photo of Abdul and Reem really hit a nerve, spurring him on to help the family.

He said: "The photo is very powerful. His eyes, the way he's carrying his sleeping daughter, and for some reason the way he is holding the pens out. It just really touched me.

"Then when I saw the amazing outpouring of people wanting to help, I decided it was time to act and help find this man."

Speaking of the reaction from people, Simonarson said: "I am humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. I'm just really happy to finally have a positive refugee story on the news."

The organiser of the fundraising campaign added that Abdul is "over the moon thankful" and is "so amazed by what is going on".

Simonarson is in contact with Unicef special protection to help ensure Abdul is not taken advantage of.

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