Why Syria? Why Now?

As the worst humanitarian crisis our planet has seen in over 60 years continues to unfold in Syria, those most affected are the children. Thousands of orphaned children are internally displaced in an unmerciful war zone. Years have gone by without proper education and livelihoods for millions of innocent civilians in the country.

 Click on the photos above to see scenes of destruction from a street near The Wisdom House in Northern Idlib Province, Syria. Half of the country's infrastructure has been destroyed since the beginning of the revolution in March 2011, including many historical sites.

Where is the Wisdom House?

We keep the location of The Wisdom House secret for security reasons, but we will say that it is a rural city near central Idlib that has a pre-war population of 8,000. Now, its population of 18,000 reflects the dramatic demographic changes caused by the war. 10,000 of the 18,000 residents are internally displaced people (IDPs) who have been forced to flee their homes. 

Because Idlib Province is under the control of the moderate opposition, it is vulnerable to air strikes. In November 2016, explosions could be heard by The Wisdom House as a school was being bombed in a nearby village. We moved the school into an entirely underground space in December 2016. The students love the new space which the teachers have worked very hard to make colorful and bright.

how our project began.

In the Spring of 2016, the Syrian Emergency Task Force executive director, Mouaz Moustafa, presented at a Tedx exhibition at his alma mater, the University of Central Arkansas. Local Conway residents, Jerry Adams and Teri Daily, had a conversation over coffee with Moustafa. He let them know about a school in Syria that his organization had identified and needed help. Jerry and Teri decided they wanted to do more for this orphanage.

With their leadership, the Wisdom House Working Group was formed from members of the Conway, Arkansas community and The Wisdom House Project was born, an initiative to sustain and connect to a Syrian orphanage for at least the next five years. Since we started this project, we have connected with communities across the country including in Massachusetts, Virginia, Washington D.C., and communities around the globe who are supporting Syria through this amazing portal.

The SETF Director of Outreach, Natalie, manages the Wisdom House Project and acts as the liaison between students in Syria and the United States. For more information you can e-mail her at natalielarrison@gmail.com

the idea to sustain this school for orphans and community in syria for years to come started with two compassionate souls. we are hopeful that this community to community bridge-building will help the future of us all and create a more understanding and caring world.

Above: Photo of the Wisdom House working group at Hendrix college in Conway, AR at the Wisdom House Project's "kick off" event in September 2016.

Left: the Syrian Emergency Task Force core team at the Washington, D.C. office during their annual retreat. 

the mission to provide a school for the children in the wisdom house is growing. we continue to spread the word about our project and the importance of connecting people to people, student to student, teacher to teacher.

community engagement

Our SETF team member, Darlynton, who is based in our Little Rock office, was recently recognized in this article,"Adegor Finds International Impact Through SETF".  

Right: Darlynton Adegor, SETF fellow and graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service, Natalie Larrison, SETF Director of Outreach and Wisdom House project manager, and Jerry Adams, Wisdom House Project founding member and business owner in Conway, Ar.

The Wisdom House Working Group 

March 12 and 13, 2017: Valley Syria Relief Committee in Northampton, Massachusetts holds two days of events locally for "Letters of Hope" and The Wisdom House Project for community awareness for Syria.

Read an article to learn more about the VSRC's amazing initiatives.

SETF executive director, Mouaz Moustafa, SETF director of outreach, and Jerry Adams, founding member of The Wisdom House Project, spoke at the first Valley Syria Relief Committee event for Syria on March 12th.

Pictured on the right: The VSRC and SETF partners hold letters of hope for Syria written on the second evening of events in Northampton, Massachusetts.


Lisa Academy in Little Rock, AR:The eighth grade gifted and talented program at Lisa Academy is sending messages of love and hope by connecting with the English teacher at The Wisdom House. They recently sent a video of an English song for the Syrian students to learn, and we are expecting a video in return!

Learn more about this group on their Weebly

December 2016: Carolyn Lewis Elementary School in Conway, AR has prepared hundreds of colorful drawings, messages of love and hope for the Syrian children at The Wisdom House. They will be delivered to the orphanage in the next few weeks. 

In October 2016, a Burger Night Fundraiser at Legends grill in Conway, Arkansas featured Fat Soul Band and the proceeds went to The Wisdom House Project. People enjoyed dinner next to an arena with horses and live music while learning about and honoring the children in Syria.