Saturday, September 28, 2013

Studio Syria - What We Did With Your Donation

Jean is back from her September visit to Zaatari refugee camp. She taught art workshops for four days with an open door policy for children of all ages and genders. Studio Syria partners with the amazingly devoted staff of Save the Children Jordan to facilitate this. Jean also held an afternoon art workshop in a facility provided by United Nations Women and donated supplies to them.

We'd like to thank Bernadette Ward of PanPastels for donating such amazing supplies that let the kids "paint" without water.

Under the guidance of expert knitter Laurie Balbo the Studio Syria yarn club was launched using yarn donated by people in Seattle and British Columbia. Laurie also cleared out much of her personal collection for the crafters at Zaatari.  The club became so popular that we moved it outside to make room for more women and girls.

Studio Syria purchased and donated hair dressing supplies for the hair dressing school at the UN Women facility. We'd like to thank Jonathan Flint and the staff at Seattle's Salon Joseph for their support of this.

Studio Syria purchased $140 worth of Arabic children's books and delivered these along with 150 donated children's books to the new Zaatari Library.  We'd like to thank Beatrice Cross at publisher Pan MacMillan and author Karen Asfour for their generosity.

We will supply International Relief and Development with more books, pencils and notebooks to assist with their literacy campaign and the opening of two more libraries. We think this library is one of the most heart warming things we have ever seen.

Studio Syria distributed a couple of thousand pencils, markers, colored pencils and notebooks to children along with 200 copies of our specially designed activity booklet.

This young girl holds a typical Studio Syria gift of an activity notebook, pencil, markers and a pencil sharpener. She has also been given bottled water and a nutrition enriched cookie from Save the Children.

With funds from Studio Syria Jean donated $700 worth of art supplies to the Child Friendly Spaces soon to be opened at Azraq Camp.

We also met with the psychologists of Save the Children Jordan to discuss future art therapy workshops. And with the staff of Save the Children International's team who runs the 21 Child Friendly Spaces in Zaatari to discuss how to help them provide creativity to children in the camp.

It was a very busy and productive week. We have much clearer ideas about how to avoid the inevitable distribution problems and are delighted to have made so many contacts with agencies happy to receive our help.

Most of all we will never forget the smiles on the faces of the children who made art with us and the loud and joyful scenes of children having fun and using their imaginations.

Finding Houssam

After six months Jean returned to Zaatari camp again and found some old friends. Houssam looked so much older - but is still the happy, funny little kid she remembers. 

He took part in our hat making workshop and looked so handsome in his creation. 

This guys hat was made by his sister who didn't want to pose for a photograph. She was happy to dress up her little brother though.

A lot of mothers and grandmothers took part in the hat workshop - helping with the glue and staplers. Some of them modeled their kids' creations with pride.

Days after the workshop Jean could see kids in the camp still wearing their hats.

Jean poses with some Save the Children staff and Syrian kids. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Studio Syria in the Jordan Times

It was great to work with Seattle based Alisa Reznick on this article in yesterday's Jordan Times. One small correction - the workshops Jean teaches at Zaatari last all day long - not an hour. There is so much need and so many kids wanting to participate. We have an open door policy - so every minute of the day is filled with color and wonderful mess and smiles.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jean Returns to Jordan on Monday Sept 9th.

Jean is looking forward to meeting up with Houssam again - the happiest and funniest kid she has every met. She painted these olives for him after he had a rough day and was upset. He kept insisting that the bushes were olive trees - so she made them so. Stay tuned to see if she can find Houssam. And to see how the mural has weathered after six months.

We've Made National News on Meet the Press

You can see the clip from Meet the Press here. The footage was shot in Jean's art studio by a Seattle news team from King 5.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hugely Successful Yarn Drive!

The yarn drive is finished. We can't fit any more in our studio! Thank you Seattle and British Columbia for donating so much color and joy to the people of Zaatari refugee camp. We are very touched and had a wonderful and silly time today sorting through the beautiful things your gave us. 

Our fabulous volunteers worked hard today. Karen sorted yarn while Virgie wrote and designed a children's booklet for the kids at Zaatari camp. Yes we are a creative bunch here at Studio Syria.