Jean Bradbury, Studio Syria Activity Booklet

When Jean Bradbury started teaching art in Jordan to Syrian refugee children last spring, she saw a need that called her, a teacher and a parent, to action. After the art workshops at the refugee camp, the children didn’t have any materials to take back to their tents to continue creating, learning and healing.

Already the founder of Studio Syria, a Seattle-based non-profit which provides art and educational opportunities to Syrian children living as refugees, Jean decided to produce an activity book and distribute it with a kit of colored pencils, sharpeners and extra paper. She started with 400 test booklets and gave them to kids at roadside camps, in fields and city lots, as well as in the sprawling refugee camp near the Syrian border. Containing art projects, math problems and reading activities, the cover of the book prompted the child receiving it to write their name and draw a self-portrait.

“The need is enormous,” Jean said. “The smiles on the faces of the children receiving their books and pencils was moving.”

Now Jean and Studio Syria want to build on that success by expanding the project and bringing more smiles to the faces of children living as refugees from the Syrian civil war.

“It is impossible to spend time in the Middle East now without being moved by the suffering of the Syrian people and the plight of the nearly quarter of a million children in Jordan who struggle to attend school,” she said. “As a parent, and as a teacher, I know how important education is to a child’s wellbeing. And of course, an educated populace is the best hope for peace.”

The funds from The Pollination Project will be used to print and bind more books. For more information on Jean, the booklets and Studio Syria please check out their website, follow them on Facebook  and read their blog.

GRANT AWARD DATE: APRIL 6, 2014