The Conflict in Syria Made Them Destitute, but Life Smiled on Them Again
Thanks to the generosity of thousands of people, Abdul and his children today live a better life. After his ordeal, he now helps others in need.
This is certainly a touching story. It’s about one of the survivors of the conflict in Syria, who found refuge in Beirut, Lebanon, after he left his home in Yarmouk because of fearing the worst.
Without a doubt, innocent civilians always suffer the consequences of war. In fact, to practically nobody’s surprise, they bear the brunt of it. In many cases, they end up losing their lives. Besides, hundreds of thousands of them are forced to flee their homelands to seek refuge in far off places with the hope of finding a little peace.
Of course, the conflict raging in Syria is a current example of such suffering. In 2016, five years after the war had broken out, the death toll reached 400,000 according to the last estimate the United Nations released.
In fear for their lives, many Syrians have fled to find a better place to live and raise their families.
This is the story of a single father known as the “anonymous vendor,” a Syrian refugee whose real name is Abdul. A photo taken of both him and his daughter went viral; it’s proof that love conquers all.
The Story of a Man Running Away from the Conflict in Syria
The “anonymous vendor” came to Beirut with no possessions other than his two most precious treasures:
- His 9-year-old son, Aboud.
- His 4-year-old daughter, Reem.
Both had fled together with their father to escape the conflict in Syria.
After coming to Beirut, he couldn’t find a job. Therefore, he had to struggle to scratch out a living by selling pens on the streets. Every day, he continued trying to sell the only material thing he had: his ink pens. Of course, he knew this was the only way he could feed his children.
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A Life-Changing Photograph
One day, someone took a photo of him on the streets with his pens and his sleeping daughter in his arms and posted it on Twitter.
The anguish on the man’s face caught the attention of Gissur Simonarson, an activist from Oslo. He saw Abdul’s photo on Twitter and launched a crowdfunding campaign, not knowing the success it would have.
The campaign went viral. The sight of a man trying his best to do something for his daughter in the midst of terrible difficulties moved many to help.
Gissur never imagined that the photograph would change Abdul’s life. However, he admits that the image certainly has an emotional impact. It has proven to be one of the strongest to come out of the conflict.
After he shared Abdul’s photo, thousands of requests came in from people across the world wanting to help both the loving father and his daughter.
Two intense days of searching later, Gissur could finally find Abdul. Now Gissur would be able to give the refugee the help from those supporting the activist’s cause.
The goal was to raise $5,000 in order to help the man and his children. To Gissus’ surprise, this amount was reached within only 30 minutes and eventually grew to over $180,000 in total.
Abdul burst into tears upon hearing the news of all the people caring about his children.
He also expressed his gratitude for the generosity of those who helped him. He said that, above all, he was thankful for their giving his children a reason to smile again.
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A Fresh Start
Abdul moved into a two-bedroom apartment and started a new life with his children, whom he can currently send to school. During his interview, he expressed his desire to help other refugees with the money that was donated. Now, he employs 16 Syrian refugees, who work at the three businesses he opened:
- a bakery
- a kebab shop
- a small restaurant
Abdul is just one of 4 million refugees who have escaped the brutal war in Syria. They’re living proof that innocent civilians suffer the worst consequences of armed conflicts.