Remember the refugee dad selling pens while carrying his daughter? He runs 3 businesses now

In a troubled war-torn world, this person who, after being uprooted, was still able to get up one morning and work. Thanks to the kindness and support of well-wishers, he was able to build his life once again for himself and others.

Abdul Halim al-Attar, 33, is a refugee, and devoted father. To support himself and his family, he sold pens on the streets under Beirut’s hot summer sun. For al-Attar, who used to work in a chocolate factory when he was held in a Palestinian refugee camp, it seemed like a lifetime ago. Although he is from Syria, al-Attar is Palestinian, and does not have a Syrian citizenship.

Photographs of al-Attar laboring away in the hot sun on the streets, while carrying his sleeping daughter, moved many people’s hearts. A kind-hearted online journalist in Norway, Gissur Simonarson, created a Twitter account for him. When it closed three months later, the campaign collected almost forty times more than they had anticipated.

Al-Attar was able to set up a business after the online crowdfunding campaign collected $191,000. Al-Attar opened a bakery two months ago, a kebab shop, and a restaurant. His staff consists of 16 Syrian refugees.

Youtube Screenshot | CNN
Youtube Screenshot | CNN

Al-Attar carrying his sleeping daughter on his shoulder while trying to sell pens to passing motorists

Credit: Twitter

Devoted father and his daughter

“Not only did my life change, but also the lives of my children and the lives of people in Syria whom I helped,” he said.

Al-Attar moved to a bigger and more comfortable apartment in southern Beirut. Reem, Al Attar’s 4-year-old daughter, obviously adores her father. Her brother, 9-year-old Abdullah, is back in school after missing school for three years.

Youtube Screenshot | CNN
Credit: Facebook | Al Jazeera English

His t-shirt reading: “Stay positive,” with a large smile, says it all. “When God wants to grant you something, you’ll get it,” he said.

Al-Attar says he feels grateful. He is steadily earning an income through selling fresh bread and kebabs.

“I had to invest the money, otherwise it will be lost,” he said.

Al-Atar says people are so nice, “They just greet me better now when they see me. They respect me more,” he said with a smile.

It goes to show, hard work and a positive attitude always pay off!


15 thoughts on “Remember the refugee dad selling pens while carrying his daughter? He runs 3 businesses now

  1. Amanda Reply

    Great that he made the philanthropic investment in him extend in benefit to 16 other needy refugees. That is the way it SHOULD be! May God continue to bless and guide him and his family .

  2. Isiaq Reply

    Happy for him. If we can be helping each other like this without looking at the person’s color or race, the world would experience peace. Hope he would help more of his fellow refugees in the future.

  3. Aisha Reply

    I pray Allah grant him a nice wife to help him with his children.

  4. Umluq Reply

    Allah akbar…look at that beautiful story I love that little girl bless her…may Allah give them security and peace and easen all our brothers sisters children family etc all around world especially.with everyday hardships and may those within our communities as well who we live next to, be strong and helpful.qul.ameeen

  5. Sadat mayanja Reply

    May Allah bless him and all those that read his story and contributed to his cause or even wished to contribute but had no means…..may Allah bless every kind soul….

  6. Joolz Reply

    The Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus is not how you would imagine a refugee camp to be. It is a suburb and all the Palestinians have their own apartments, before the FSA moved in and destroyed them. The shops in Yarmouk were open all night and the place was buzzing all the time. The media failed to report that more than 60,000 Palestinians were starved by the FSA for over 2 years and some are still being held hostage by the terrorist group. When the FSA moved in very few could leave the country and move to Lebanon because Palestinians do not have Syrian passports and were not allowed to move into the tent refugee camps in neighbouring countries. At the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011 one of the demands put on President Assad was to send all of the Palestinians out of Syria or they would kill them. This was never mentioned in the Western media as it did not meet their agenda. In 2011 the Syrian Army surrounded Yarmouk to protect the Palestinians from the terrorists, but as it is the size of a small town the army had to fight the terrorists in other areas and Yarmouk was taken and still is by the FSA.

  7. Sahania lucman Reply

    Alhamdulillah.i am so happy to hear this esp so that he was able to help some refugees also..indeed in life,there is ease and relief after the hardship as long as we don’t lost hope from the miracles of Allah..special thanks and May Allah bless Gissur Simonarson and all the donors.

  8. Rony Reply

    He is a good person by nature coz the way he did inorder his family survive he himself go to the streets and sell stuff to earn a living. Plus carrying your daughter with you while doing the business is not easy. And he also knows how to help and share the blessings he received.

  9. Bashir Ahmad Dar Reply

    We have seen such things in Indian movie’s.
    Now it’s true…. “Al.Attar is a Real Hero.
    This kind of courage is seen only amongst the BELIEVERS,non-believers May have died in frustration.
    Brother I salute you.

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