How child asylum seeker born to Ethiopian parents made history raising over $230K for charity

Dollita Okine November 23, 2023
Child asylum seeker made history. Photo: Facebook/Ulf Kristersson

11-year-old Murhaf Hamid participated in the annual campaign by Majblomman, Sweden’s oldest charity, to combat child poverty in the country.

He thought he would sell the “majblommor” flower pins to make enough money to afford pizza with his friends since the children are allowed to keep 10 percent of the money they raise as well as any tips. He ended up breaking a fundraising record.

According to Aljazeera, when Hamid began, some people were rude and asked him to get off the street, leaving him quite disheartened.

A family friend, Leila Orahman, saw the rejections were upsetting Hamid and decided to write a social media post about him, which went viral immediately.

“I’ve shared a lot of posts before, but nothing’s ever gone this viral,” she told AFP, adding that the attention the story was getting was about “so much more than just his sales”.

“It’s also raising awareness for the whole situation with a boy who was born in Sweden almost 12 years ago and his family’s (asylum) application still being processed,” she remarked.

The post made headlines as Hamid’s digital fundraising page started filling up with more than 3.2 million kroner ($223,200). The young lad also received 112,000 kroner ($10,830) in tips, breaking the charity’s fundraising record and becoming a viral sensation along the way.

The general secretary of the charity, Åsa Henell, told TT Newswire that the sales were “completely unbelievable” and they had “never seen anything like it” since children usually raise around $100.

Though Hamid was born in Sweden, he has asylum seeker status and thus does not have a residence permit. His parents have been denied Swedish permits many times, however, the family cannot be deported to their home country, Ethiopia.

Racist comments aimed at Hamid only brought his campaign more attention, including from Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, who said those who wrote racist comments should be “ashamed”.

It was reported that he had been invited to the Swedish Parliament and the Town Hall in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city.

The 11-year-old changemaker told SVT, Sweden’s public broadcaster, that he “wanted to buy a residence permit” with the money but accepted “it’s not possible”.

Therefore, he intends to invest the money in a mobile phone, shoes, and clothes, he said.

The experience of selling so many flower pins has “boosted my confidence in myself, that I can cope with more things in life,” he said. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 23, 2023

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