Street vendor and Syrian refugee single dad now a successful business owner
Here's an inspiring story of a single dad who beat the odds and rebuilt a new life for the love of his children.
It all started with a viral photo of a dad selling pens on the street in Lebanon. The man in the photo, seen cradling his sleeping daughter as he peddles his wares, quickly touched the hearts of many netizens all over the world.
— Gissur Simonarson CN (@GissiSim) August 25, 2015
As a result, many people learned the story of Abdul Haleem al-Kader a Palestinian-Syrian refugee and single dad formerly lived in the Yarmouk refugee camp with his two children 4-year-old Reem, and 9-year-old Abdullelah.
Yarmouk refugee camp houses about 150,000 refugees living in oppressive conditions in constant danger, caught in the midst of a civil war while being attacked by ISIS.
Kader left Syria with his two kids and wife four years ago to live in Egypt. His wife longed to return home but when Kader refused, she abandoned them.
Gissur Simonarson, the journalist who first snapped the viral photo decided to start an Indiegogo campaign to help the single dad. His goal was to raise about $5,000 but he was stunned to discover that they had raised $50,000 in 24 hours.
“I was surprised to know that people abroad heard about my story and care about my kids,” said Kader to BuzzFeed News. “I couldn’t hold my tears. I kept saying, ‘Thank god, thank god,’ and hugging my kids.”
“I don’t need money. All I want is to educate my kids,” Kader told BuzzFeed News, “send them to school, help them to get their education.”
As of this writing, the Indiegogo campaign devoted to help the Kader family has raised $191,000.
With the help he got from all the generous donors from all over the world, the former Syrian refugee single dad was able to put up three businesses: a bakery, a kebab shop, and a restaurant in Beirut, Lebanon. He was also able to share his blessings. It was reported that he sent $25,000 to help family and friends who are still in Syria.
With their earnings from the three successful ventures, he was able to move his two children from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom home.
His four-year-old daughter Keem now happily plays with new toys and her nine-year-old brother Abdullelah is finally back in school after being away for three years.
He has also given hope to 16 Syrian refugees by hiring them to work in his establishments to help them rebuild their lives.
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