Facebook 2016: Healing Classrooms Challenge | Students Rebuild

2016: Healing Classrooms Challenge

Syrian Refugee Crisis

How to Make a Pinwheel

Your pinwheels generated $400,000 for Syrian refugees.

September 2015 - May 2016

Teams from around the world made over 200,000 paper pinwheels! The Bezos Family Foundation matched each pinwheel with $2 for a total donation of $400,000 to support the International Rescue Committee's Healing Classrooms programs in Iraq and Lebanon.

Challenge Overview

When Syrian young people needed help, students showed up.

Since the civil war began in 2011, more than 5.6 million Syrians have fled the country as refugees, and another 6.2 million people are displaced within Syria. Half of the people affected are children. Millions of Syrian young people have found themselves without homes, many without access to education, and living in neighboring countries without knowing when, or if, they'll return home.

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Pinwheels of Hope

Students from 27 countries took up the challenge to help their Syrian peers. First, they learned about the Syrian refugee crisis. Webinars provided them an opportunity to hear directly from young people affected by the war in Syria.

Students also made pinwheels to raise funding to support Syrian peers. For each pinwheel made, the Bezos Family Foundation donated $2 to the International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classrooms program in Iraq and Lebanon.

Training teachers, healing children.

The money generated from each and every pinwheel helped provide secure, nurturing learning environments for displaced Syrian children to recover, grow, develop and learn. It also helped equip teachers with tools to support children from conflict areas and help

Syrian Refugee 3


200,000 pinwheels from around the world

Each individual pinwheel we received was thoughtful and inspiring. We partnered with students at Montlake Elementary School in Seattle, Washington to design an interactive museum installation using pinwheels submitted for the Challenge. This result was a pinwheel tent that tells the story of Healing Classrooms and invites reflection—educating museum visitors and raising more awareness. The tent was on exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California from September 2017 to February 2018.
Healing Classrooms Challenge Pinwheel Tent Exhibition

At the age of 10, Nada was forced to flee her home after, today she is learning to heal.

Sending in pinwheels! Photo via Natasha M Lawler

Hamza and Mouawiya are excited about their new school!

The Caring Comets team with their 1050 pinwheels made for the Healing Classrooms Challenge.

The Hockadaisies team with their pinwheels for the Healing Classrooms Challenge.

The Hope Lutheran School's team was mighty!

The team at John Rogers Elementary displayed their pinwheels in the school hallways!

Some of the pinwheels you made for the Healing Classrooms Challenge made their way to a Healing Classroom in Syria!

The Concord Carlisle Kids Care First Graders made plenty of pinwheels for the Healing Classrooms Challenge!

Where we came from

Pinwheels across borders

Here are the places our Healing Classrooms teams call home. Click through the map to learn more about each team.
Your Team

Healing Classrooms Challenge Teaching Materials

The challenge is over, but you can still make a difference.

Teaching materials from the Healing Classrooms Challenge are available for free download at any time and include K-12 lesson plans.
Find curricula, videos, and more resources from all Challenges in our resource library.