11-year-old Swede raises more than 210,000 euros for poor children

A record. An 11-year-old asylum seeker of Ethiopian origin raised 210,000 euros in Sweden for an association dedicated to poor children after being the subject of racist comments which also earned him the support of officials policies on social media, the charity said.

“We have never seen this before”

Murhaf Hamid, born in Sweden to Ethiopian parents, decided to take part in the fundraising campaign organized every year by the Majblomma association (“May flowers”) during which children sell badges either on the streets or online. Children earn a 10% commission on sales and are allowed to keep tips.

“Usually the children sell for around 1,300 crowns (115 euros)”, but “he sold for 2.4 million crowns”, Majblomman general secretary Ase Henell told AFP. “We’ve never seen this before,” she said.

Hate reactions and racist comments

The association helps poor children in Sweden, by providing them with clothes or financing activities to which they do not have access. Hamid, who lives in Glimakra in southern Sweden, did not expect to earn so much money, he told the daily Aftonbladet. On the first day, the child only sold a few badges in five hours, and a few adults even told him to leave. When he told a family friend he thought it was a racist backlash, she described his efforts on Facebook. The story went viral: Hamid received countless messages of support but was also the target of hateful reactions and racist comments.

Politicians, including Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, expressed their support for Hamid on social media and bought him badges. Laila Rahman, the family friend who posted the Facebook post, said she was “still very shocked”. According to her, this story goes far beyond the sale of badges. “She draws attention to the whole situation: a child born in Sweden almost twelve years ago and his family’s (asylum) application still ongoing,” she added. The Majblomma campaign, which started on April 18, will continue until May 3.

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