“It’s like winning the lottery,” Hamid told local news channel SVT Skåne. “You help children and can earn some money yourself.”
Children selling the flower pins are allowed to keep ten percent of the money they earn as commission, as well as any extra tips.
Sales didn’t start out well, family friend Leila Orahman told Sydsvenskan, who were first to report the story, with adults treating Hamid rudely and trying to get him to move on from public areas.
She saw that this was upsetting him and wrote about his fundraising efforts on social media. The post went viral, was picked up by the media and sales exploded.
Hamid was originally hoping he would earn enough to go out for pizza with his friends, but as of Wednesday morning, the 2.4 million kronor for charity plus over 100,000 kronor in personal tips meant he would be able to keep well over a quarter of a million kronor.
Orahman told AFP she was “still very shocked”.
“I’ve shared a lot of posts before but nothing’s ever gone this viral,” she said, 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 said.
‘I want to buy a residence permit’
Despite being born in Sweden, 12-year-old Hamid has asylum seeker status, meaning that he does not have a residence permit or citizenship in Sweden.
“I wanted to buy a residence permit, but it’s not possible,” he told SVT. “So I’m going to buy clothes, shoes, and maybe a new phone.”
He is also considering investing some of the money, as well as buying gifts for his family, he told Sydsvenskan.
The general secretary of the Majblomman charity, Åse Henell, described Hamid’s sales as “completely unbelievable” in a comment to TT newswire.
“We’re shocked and overwhelmed,” he said. “We’ve never seen anything like it. Children usually raise around a thousand kronor.”
Hamid’s story has also been the subject of racist comments, including one by a self-described Sweden Democrat from Lund referring to Hamid using racist slurs, and writing that a “white, Swedish child” should be getting the attention instead.
The comments, however, brought Hamid’s fundraising efforts to the attention of even more people, who bought flowers from him to show their support.
According to SVT, the Sweden Democrats have distanced themselves from her comments and reported her to their membership committee.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, who has bought a pin from Hamid, called his fundraising “a heroic effort” in a Facebook post, where he also addressed the negative comments the child’s story had received.
“To those who write hateful comments to a child on social media – you should be ashamed,” he wrote.
Social Democrat leader and former prime minister Magdalena Andersson also wrote about Hamid’s story, simultaneously criticising Kristersson for cooperating with the Sweden Democrats.
“Attacking a 12-year-old selling majblommor with despicable racist comments is a view which does not belong in Sweden,” Andersson wrote.
“The boundaries for what can be said are moving rapidly in Sweden now – by the Sweden Democrats with Kristersson’s consent. Where do you draw the line, Ulf Kristersson?”
Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch, whose party also collaborates with the Sweden Democrats, also tweeted in support of Hamid.
“Murhaf and everyone else selling majblommor. Thank you for your efforts for our youngest,” she wrote.
“No one should be met with hate. Children should be met with respect and love. All children.”