Last summer a photograph of Syrian refugee Halim al-Attar carrying his sleeping daughter over his shoulder while desperately trying to sell pens to passing motorists in Beirut went viral, a moving metaphor for the plight of the refugees. An online crowd-funding campaign was soon set up on twitter (#buypens), collecting a whooping $191,000.
Months later, the money has forever changed Halim’s life and his family. He has been able to open three businesses — a bakery, kebab shop and small restaurant — and employs fellow refugees.
“Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped,” says Al-Attar.