Indiana State University Newsroom

Work with Syrian refugee children topic of keynote Community Semester event April 23

April 6, 2015

"Seen for Syria" is the keynote and closing event for Indiana State University's Community Semester, 4-6 p.m. April 23 at St. Stephens Episcopal Church.

An adjunct professor in Indiana State's department of art, Soulaf Abas, '08, GR '13, started "Seen for Syria," as an art therapy and education initiative for the Syrian refugee children in Jordan in August 2013. The goal is to help the children channel the trauma they have been through using painting and drawing.

Abas traveled to Syrian refugee camps and worked with the children for two and a half months in summer 2014. During her stay, she worked with hundreds of children in the Zaatari camp, in makeshift camps and in host communities for Syrian refugee families in Amman. She worked on daily basis with 75 children. She planted gardens in the shape of the Syrian map ("Blooming Syria") with the children. They also painted murals and completed numerous art projects for groups and individuals.

One of the results of the project was the book "Me and You," a letter and art exchange between Syrian refugee children and Terre Haute children. The book strives to raise awareness and bridge the two cultures together. So far, sales of the book have raised $12,000 for Syrian children.

At the Community Semester event, Abas will speak on the project and her experiences. Her paintings and samples of the children's artwork will be on display. Copies of her book will be on sale during the presentation. All of the proceeds from the book sales go to help the Syrian children who participated in creating it.

St. Stephens Episcopal Church is located at 215 N. 7th St., Terre Haute. The event is free and open to the public.

For a complete schedule of Community Semester events, go to


Media Contact: Libby Roerig, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or