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, you 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.

Syrian Refugee Schools

We connected, and learned about one another.

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 asked questions like, '"Were you sad to leave home?" "What were you able to bring with you?" "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

CROPPED 13. PBiro Atmeh 321

Each pinwheel supported Syrian refugee classrooms.

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.

Syrian Refugee 3

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 them build self-esteem, strengthen their social-emotional learning, and recover from crisis.

Syria 5

We made more than just pinwheels.

Young people around the world took action to help raise $400,000. In the process, they learned they can make a difference. Syrian students learned that their peers from around the world care.

Syrian Refugees 4

Pinwheels for Hope

Through making pinwheels we helped kids affected by the civil war in Syria. Since the beginning of the war, approximately 11 million people have fled to surrounding areas. Each pinwheel made was $2 towards the cause of helping displaced youth.

DSC 0252

By the Numbers

By partnering with the International Rescue Committee and Global Nomads Group the Bezos Family Foundation gave $400,000 based on the pinwheels to help youth in Syria.

Pinwheel2

Challenge Impact

Through this challenge, we funded the International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classroom program which provides safe spaces, teacher and student support, and tools for teachers to help educate youth.

20141217 IRC WinterDistributionNewRoz Syria IMG 1890

What Happened with the Pinwheels?

To highlight the incredible impact of this Challenge, an interactive refugee tent was made out of pinwheels. This pinwheel tent was on display for three months at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California.

IMG 0117

Gallery

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.
Registered
Teams
Submitted
Art
Your Team
Challenge
Projects

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.