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New teddy bear brings comfort to refugee children

Threadies is a new social enterprise started by Steve Lehmann, Chicago area resident and native, and his best friend Andrew Jones. Threadies teddy bears come in sibling pairs: for each teddy bear purchased in the US, its twin is donated to a child refugee, creating a special bond between children across the world: www.threadies.com 

Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan (c) Threadies 2015There are almost 60 million refugees today, the largest amount to date according to the United Nations. Half are children. Last year the number of refugees rose more than it had ever risen before, due mainly to the ongoing Syrian conflict.

This relocation has been hard on everyone, but hardest on children. They can’t understand why they had to leave, and why they can’t go back. What they desperately need more than anything is to be comforted.

Thinking back to his own childhood stuffed animal and the comfort it brought him, Steve Lehmann co-founded Threadies with his best friend Andrew Jones as a way to share comfort with those who need it most: children affected by the trauma of illness, natural disaster, or violent conflict.

For every Threadies teddy bear purchased in the US, another Threadies teddy bear is donated to a child refugee.

Children Refugees with Threadies Teddy Bears (c) ThreadiesNow until early October 2015, Threadies teddy bears are available to purchase through an investment campaign via Kickstarter: www.threadies.com/buy Three adorable designs are available to purchase and many pledge levels are available to choose from.

Threadies launched on Kickstarter this past Thursday September 10th, and is already almost 60% of the way towards its goal.

The first batch of donated teddy bears will go to one of the world’s largest refugee camps: the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. The teddy bears will be distributed by International Medical Corps (IMC) with a "coping kit." The coping kit helps IMC case workers guide children through trauma healing exercises, based on the latest research in child psychology by Dr. Meghan Marsac at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Threadies Prototypes August 2015Lehmann and Jones just returned from their pilot test in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. Refugee children and parents participated in a test group through International Medical Corps. The children loved the teddy bears, holding them like infants and saying things such as “I want to sleep with it beside me and protect it,” and "I would name it after my mom."

Threadies proudly partners with fair trade manufacturer Child’s Cup Full, a non-profit that trains and employs refugee women in the West Bank. In this way, each handmade Threadies teddy bear helps provide living wages to an artisan, while also supporting the creation of grassroots childhood development programs in the region.

Threadies teddy bears make great gifts for kids—In the US, each Thready includes a special poem sharing the journey of its twin, which was sent abroad to comfort a refugee child. The bond between a purchased Thready and its donated twin truly reaches across oceans.

Visit www.threadies.com/buy to purchase a Thready teddy bear today.

 

Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan (c) Threadies 2015
Children Refugees (c) Threadies 2015
Threadies Prototypes August 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015