Abdul Halim al-Attar runs a restaurant, two bakeries, and a kebab shop in Beirut, Lebanon.
But the Syrian refugee wasn’t as fortunate earlier this year.
He was photographed a couple months ago trying to sell pens while carrying his sleeping daughter. The picture went viral and sparked a fundraising campaign for al-Attar’s family. The goal was to raise $5,000, but people donated more than $191,000.
“It changed my life and I am thankful for whoever helped me and donated money and supported me,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of Syrian people whom I helped.”
Although al-Attar has received only 40% — more than $75,000 — of the donations so far, he’s been able to start multiple businesses. He employs 16 people, and he’s breaking even.
“Living conditions are different now,” he said. “The place we live in is different. Education is different now. My children are in school. I am working and I have two shops of my own and I am happy. I wish every Syrian refugee could have the same opportunity.”
Story by Allan Smith and editing by Chelsea Pineda
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