Teens in Tukwila making pinwheels to help youthful Syrian refugees survive

Members of the teen Tukwila Library Council are making pinwheels as part of an international humanitarian project to help Syrian refugee students.

Leah Tran and Salhadin Adem

Members of the teen Tukwila Library Council are making pinwheels as part of an international humanitarian project to help Syrian refugee students.

The students’ goal is to make 2,000 pinwheels before the end of April; so far they’ve made about 1,500.

For each pinwheel, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 to the International Rescue Committee as part of the foundation’s Students Rebuild Challenge.

The teens will meet with representatives from the Bezos Family Foundation and the International Rescue Committee at about 3 p.m. on Monday (Feb. 22) at the Foster Library, 4060 S. 144th St., across the street from Foster High School.

Joining the teen council making pinwheels Monday are Students Rebuild, the International Rescue Committee and Global Nomads Group.

Though members of the Tukwila Library Council have taken the lead on making pinwheels, anyone who visits the Foster Library can decorate one.

The Students Rebuild Healing Classrooms Challenge will help Syrian children from conflict areas recover from crisis and grow into happy healthy adults.

“When I see all the destruction and madness going on in Syria, it makes me feel the need to help in some way,” said Hafsah Math, a teen volunteer. “I’m glad that I have the privilege to participate in this challenge and help out in such a meaningful way.”

Rachel McDonald, Teen Services librarian at the Foster Library, said “it’s wonderful for students to have a concrete way to take action on a global issue, and one that also hits close to home, since many teens in Tukwila are refugees themselves.

“The Healing Classrooms Challenge has enabled students to have conversations with their peers about the conflict in Syria,” she said.

Since the civil war in Syria began, nearly 11 million Syrians have fled their homes — and the majority of these displaced Syrians are children, according to McDonald. On average, it takes 17 years to return home, meaning millions of Syrian children will likely spend most — or all — of their childhood as refugees.

The International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classrooms program trains teachers in special techniques to engage conflict-affected children with social-emotional learning opportunities and to create secure, nurturing learning environments.

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