Poles launch crowd-funding appeal to help stranded Iranian lorry driver

Fardin Kazemi and his lorry in a photo posted on the corwd-funding site. PHOTO: ZRZUTKA.PL

WARSAW (AFP) - An Iranian driver who was stranded after his lorry broke down in Poland received a helping hand from locals who launched a crowd-funding initiative for a new truck to take him home.

By Friday morning, the appeal on the website zrzutka.pl had drawn more than 250,000 zlotys (S$88,000) in donations for Fardin Kazemi.

The self-employed driver was forced to sleep in his American International 9670 lorry after it broke down in early December near the southern city of Czestochowa after travelling 5,550km.

Locals provided him with food and a roof over his head a few days after the vehicle broke down.

"I am very thankful to the great Polish nation for (their) hospitality," Kazemi said.

He was delivering raisins to Poland and was supposed to continue on to the Czech Republic to pick up goods to import to Iran, according to local media.

After his story hit the Internet, Polish lorry-drivers joined forces to help him repair the vehicle, and when that proved impossible, they decided to crowd-fund him a new one.

A replacement lorry was found on Thursday but its seller DAF Trucks - a Dutch manufacturing company which is a division of US firm Paccar - pulled out at the last minute for fear of being affected by US sanctions against Iran.

The organisers of the online appeal now hope to quickly find another vehicle for Kazemi, according to a video posted to Facebook.

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