Friday, March 25, 2016

Special Delivery: Letters of Hope

Most days, I feel like we live in a protective bubble.  My family is happy, healthy, warm, and safe.  We don't know what it's like to be hungry or cold. We don't know what it's like to live in a war-torn country.  We don't know what it's like to fear for our life every single day. We don't know what it's like to have to flee and leave everything we ever had behind.

The truth is, we are unbelievably blessed. And I am incredibly thankful.

014

It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison game in life. We may feel like we don't measure up or have as much as other people. But all we have to do is turn on the news to be slapped in the face with the harsh reality of what's happening in this world. My heart aches for the millions of people who are suffering.  I wish I could help them all.

There IS an easy way to help some of those people! You can write a short Letter of Hope #WithSyria to a Syrian child refugee. It only takes a few seconds to give a scared and lonely child words of hope!

https://ooh.li/ad337b8

The conflict in Syria has been ongoing for five years.  The result is the largest refugee crisis since World War II.  No matter what your political stance is on refugees, we can all agree that what these Syrian child refugees really need is hope. The only thing they know right now is the pain of war, which is something that many of us never experienced.

Thankfully, CARE is there to help. CARE, a non-profit organization that fights poverty throughout the world, has supplied over 1 million Syrians with relief. They supply them with food, grocery cards, and emergency shelter and hygiene kits.

But CARE wanted to give something more to Syrian refugee children. They wanted to give them hope.  They turned to the first recipients of CARE packages for help: a few child refugees from World War II. CARE invited these refugees, who now live in America, to write letters to Syrian refugee children.

These elderly WWII refugees wrote letters to the Syrian children and put them in care packages filled with goodies and even included photos from their childhood. The result was a connection between people who know the pain of war.  Most of all, the WWII refugees were able to show these Syrian refugee children that they do care and that they are not alone.  They were able to give them HOPE.

Joe, a World War II refugee, wrote a letter to 12 year old Shadi.

 

Joe received one of the original CARE packages after World War II. He understands exactly what it's like to be a child refugee and knows what it's like to leave everything behind.

https://exposure.imgix.net/production/photos/4gywnj54siwzh0k9j9qw6al8igpkfbt9g290/original.jpg?fm=pjpg&auto=format&q=60&nrs=30&dpr=1&w=1903 

Shadi and his family live in Jordan after their home in Syria was destroyed in a bombing. They lost everything and they had to flee. Shadi dreams of one day returning to Syria and becoming a doctor.

https://exposure.imgix.net/production/photos/rioa61xmcytfyldiszndb4ehvog30udis7f1/original.jpg?fm=pjpg&auto=format&q=60&nrs=30&dpr=1&w=1903 
https://exposure.imgix.net/production/photos/q0fzokkuewwgsyvi7v7tg3guiw6a8aoricdj/original.jpg?fm=pjpg&auto=format&q=60&nrs=30&dpr=1&w=1903 

Joe wrote a heart-felt Letter of Hope to Shadi and he sent it with a notebook, pens, candy and a knit hat.

https://exposure.imgix.net/production/photos/e3gnszkk4890y66rljucvnekwf9ftj4iooes/original.jpg?fm=pjpg&auto=format&q=60&nrs=30&dpr=1&w=1903 

Dear Shadi,


You may wonder why you are getting a letter from a stranger. The reason is that, although I am much older than you, we have had similar experiences.  We are both refugees, who were helped by CARE.  In my case, it was after the Second World War, when my family escaped communism in Germany.  You are from Syria, and your family had to escape because of the oppression and violence there.  There are three ideas that I would like to share with you:

You and your family are not alone.  There are many individuals and organizations like CARE that are concerned about you and want to help.  I do not remember all the things that were in the CARE packages we received, but I do remember that they were sent by a very kind lady in the U.S.
Do not give up on your dreams.  Right now, it may seem like you may never get to go to school to become a doctor.  But if keep working at it, it can happen.  I know, because I became a doctor.
Help the next generation.  When your life becomes normal again, and you are successful, please support wonderful organizations like CARE to help those in need.  When I was eight years old, receiving help from CARE, I made a promise to myself that if I was ever successful, that I would support this organization.  Now I am very grateful to have the opportunity to do that, and I hope that you will too.

That is all for now, my young friend.  Remember, don’t give up.


Sincerely,

Joe Wernicke

https://exposure.imgix.net/production/photos/a2i0ypsp2aux47vim8r6pprapgg8ehfr9lbu/original.jpg?fm=pjpg&auto=format&q=60&nrs=30&dpr=1&w=1903 
 https://exposure.imgix.net/production/photos/z3ox1uz6ehjb57b9f2few73boexqd7vi1bde/original.jpg?fm=pjpg&auto=format&q=60&nrs=30&dpr=1&w=1903
 {photos courtesy of CARE.org}
You can read the full story HERE and check out the other stories and letters. If they don't touch your heart and inspire you to do something, I'm not quite sure what will. 

You might be wondering what you could possibly do to help. Here are two easy ways to help Syrian refugees:

*Write a short Letter of Hope. Let a Syrian child refugee know that you care and give them hope! A selection of these short messages of hope will be translated and shared with Syrian refugee children.

*DONATE a CARE package to a Syrian family. You can choose a hygiene kit or a month's worth of food. Or you can choose your own amount. Every little bit helps!

*Share one of the methods above on social media with the hashtag #WithSyria to encourage people to send their own letters of hope or to donate to this wonderful cause!

I was definitely inspired by the four incredible stories on CARE's Special Delivery page. I decided to write my own short Letter of Hope on the CARE Letter Writing Portal and pair it with a donation.

Hello, Friend!  It may feel like we are a world apart, but I just want you to know that I care very much about you.  I want you to know that YOU are important and that my family is thinking of you and your family. Stay strong, have hope and fight for your dreams!

I encourage you to share your own words of hope with a Syrian child refugee! Let them know that they are not alone and help show them that there is an entire world that cares about them!

Thank you, CARE, for sponsoring today's Special Delivery: Letters of Hope #WithSyria post!

 

2 comments:

  1. I love your heart! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! It was really neat to learn how one refugee kept his promise and is giving back today. Because of his words of encouragement, that little boy now believes he can become a doctor one day too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Holly! XOXO It's just such a simple way to help!

      Delete

Thank you for reading! XOXO