Helping immigrant families: the stories of success

War, poverty, trafficking. These are just some of the challenges many immigrants and refugees had to run away from. Leaving everything behind and risking their lives only to seek refuge in countries like America, they hoped for better lives away from the nightmares they grew up in.

But life isn’t easy, even for these poor souls that have traveled a long way with just their shadows as companies.

These are the moments that give birth to amazing stories of generosity, hope, and love. Through sites like GoFundMe, ordinary people are able to help immigrants and their families.

Here are stories of success that will bring back your faith in humanity.

Charlotte and David Willner with President Clayton Rose

Charlotte and David Willner

This couple gained popularity recently, earning praise for breaking the record for fundraising for immigrant children.

Charlotte and David Willner from Silicon Valley live with their two-year-old daughter. According to reports, the couple decided to take action and raise funds when they saw the now infamous photo of a Honduran girl crying while her mother was being detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The heartbreaking photo was captured by Getty photographer John Moore who only had time to ask the mother and daughter where they were from.

The couple decided to raise funds that will go directly to The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). This is a group that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees.

The fundraiser was posted on Facebook this June. It blew up and went viral. Initially, the fundraiser started at $1,500 until people were donating around $4,000 every minute.

As of writing, the total fund collected is over $20.7 million.


David Bilger, Robin Korevaar, and Leann Burger

“Bombings were a constant threat.”

This was what Baset, a 17-year-old Afghan trumpet player said when he was asked about his experience in Afghanistan. Baset was a student at Afghanistan National Institute of Music which taught both Afghan and Western music. But the school was a constant target for insurgents as they reserve slots for girls – a strictly forbidden rule under the Taliban regime.

After ANIM’s trumpet teacher left the school, Baset was left behind without an instructor.

Not giving up on his dreams, he turned to the internet to teach himself. That’s when he came across David Bilger, Principal Trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Baset reached out to him, and soon after, David offered free lessons for the young boy via Skype.

Baset soon approached David to talk about his dream of learning music in America. With the help of Robin Korevaar, a former visiting teacher in ANIM, they were able to raise funds to bring Baset to America in 2016.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Baset has to have the money to stay in America for college. With the help of Leann Burger, a new campaign was launched. It successfully raised over $85,000 for the young boy.


Gissur Simonarson

One of the most unforgettable events of 2015 was when a Syrian refugee and his sleeping daughter went viral. It was one of the most memorable photos that showed the plights of a refugee seeking shelter away from war.

The man, named Abdul Halim al-Attar, can be seen selling pens to motorists under the scorching heat of the sun, with his sleeping daughter on his shoulders. It was the only way he was able to earn money and provide food for his family.

The photo garnered so much attention until Gissur Simonarson, a journalist and web developer in Norway started a fundraiser for the man. After posting the pictures, he was overwhelmed with requests to help the man.

The fundraiser was known as “buying pens,” and it was launched to get enough money for the family to survive

The goal was to raise $5,000 for the family. But it went overboard and garnered over $189,000. Everything was given to Abdul and his family.

Now, according to the Telegraph, Abdul is in a much better place with three business: a bakery, a kebab shop, and a small restaurant. His daughter has also gone back to school, and his family moved to a two-bedroom apartment.

Apart from investing, Abdul also sent some money to his fellow refugees in Syria.


Heroes of Today

Becoming a hero in somebody else’s story takes courage. In a world filled with war, vanity, and chaos, it’s hard to take time to actually listen to other people’s story – to think about others rather than ourselves.

These people may have only clicked a few buttons on the internet. But they have opened and paved a pathway for these immigrants and refugees to a better future.

They are not the only heroes in these stories. These people who never gave up protecting their families and reaching their dreams the ones who are truly strong.