Refugees at Work – For the Glory of God

Nizar and Akram returned to the refugee camp, tired but happy.  They had learned to do woodworking and are part of a team which is building doors and windows, and small handcrafted items to sell in the city where they are refugees.  They are happy because they have a meal to look forward to.  They have learned a skill which allows them to “give back” to the community and they have access to food and clothing, thanks to a forward-looking organization called Tying Vines.

The UNHCR High Commissioner has called the Syrian crisis1 “…the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time…”  6.9 million are internally displaced (IDPs) and 5.6 million are in neighboring countries.  Nizar and Akram are Syrian youth in one of those neighboring countries where 90% of refugees live in extreme poverty. Nizar and Akram have spent most of their childhood living in a refugee camp.

Tying Vines is an organization established to partner “with local heroes to bring hope and God’s love to disadvantaged or impoverished communities with a goal of having a lasting transforming impact on at-risk communities.”  With 2.5 million Syrian refugee children not in school; essential humanitarian aid is a link to marketplace development programs that provide training, coaching and investment to create sustainable businesses, and jobs which bring hope and a future.

The Tying Vines Marketplace program is designed to develop business leaders and businesses that are committed to the quadruple bottom lines of profit, people, purpose, and planet. In addition to providing training, coaching, and investment fund management, the Marketplace program provides a vehicle for businesses to get their products to market though its Work of Worth ecommerce platform.

Tying Vines was started in 2011 by Mary and Jeff Kenney, whose challenge was unique. They had lived in the Middle East for some time, and together with their church2 in a major city, realized that often there are local or other expatriate resources available.  They set out to connect funds, expertise, and personnel for the most vulnerable peoples in poor countries with a vision for sustainable local communities.  Their services include funds management, donor accountability, and project governance.

It is a privilege for IBEC to be part of their coaching team, seeking to bring scale and measurable results for their goals.


  1. These statistics are up-to-date through 2021, but of course do not account for the crisis in Ukraine.
  2. The church is described: XYZ Community Church is an embassy of the Lord Jesus Christ in ABC City, growing disciples from the nations to be gospel ambassadors to the nations.

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures

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