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.