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Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children

by Letters of Love Inc
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Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Gift Handwritten Letters to 10000 Refugee Children
Writing letters becoming a family bonding activity
Writing letters becoming a family bonding activity

Hello, fellow changemakers!

I hope you are doing well in these trying and tough times. It’s been a sort of roller-coaster of emotions here at Letters of Love with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a global paralysis of the nations. 

IN A TIME LIKE THIS WHEN WE'RE ADVISED TO "STAY AT HOME", MANY DON'T HAVE A PLACE TO CALL HOME.

Our hearts go out to the refugees, the daily-wage earners, the migrant workers and others who have been affected the most.

In the last few months, we have been involved in launching a few campaigns that have been very close to our hearts. I hope reading about them brings you as much joy and hope as implementing them brings us.

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1) #silvERlinings:  

#silvERlinings is our effort to offer the humans behind the scrubs a platform to celebrate them and cheer them on. This is done with a combination of pictures, videos, anecdotes, stories, advice, casual chats that we upload on our social media channels. 

In times like these when we’re more anxious and sad than ever, waking up to positive content on social media can change our perspective and mood. 

You can find all the footage to brighten up your day here.

 

2) DearHeroes:

The #DearHeroes global letter-writing campaign is us extending a hand in gratitude to the thousands of medical staff who are at the frontline, risking their lives and waging this battle at the forefront. 

We have been collecting letters and messages from any and everyone around the world, irrespective of age, religion and nationality. Through these letters, we want to let the doctors know that we see them as human beings, we admire their resilience and that we are endlessly grateful to them for everything that they do.

This letter-writing campaign is our humble attempt at spreading smiles to those who deserve it the most. It is a token of hope, personalised with a warm message which is written by hand by our team of volunteers in the native language of the receiver, doodled with colours and signed off in your name.

After sending more than 50,000 letters to refugee children around the world, today, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to refocus our attention to write letters to the Heroes of the Hour - the Doctors and Nurses.

We have projects underway in Pakistan, India, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Italy and are working to expand based on volunteer reach on the ground. With all your help and blessings, we have successfully delivered nearly 7000 letters and counting.

In fact, with the quarantine in place- letter-writing has even become a family bonding activity!

You can find all of the action here

We are also incredibly thrilled to have been featured in Vogue Arabia and The National.

 

3) Student Ambassador in Action: 

Aelia Jawad, our SA from Pakistan sent across the first batch of letters to the front line. She has also launched her own platform to raise awareness for cancer survivor stories in to offer them, their families and communities support. The team has helped support her vision and we're confident that this passion project which is already gaining fast traction will soon grow into a strong community worldwide. 

Read more about her interview here

 

4) Digital Presence:

With the current climate, being able to produce content that is positive has been essential. In addition to our silvER linings campaign, we had launched our WorkFromHome series where the team came to interact with our followers to offer pointers on how to stay on top of their work, be on their A-game and engaged in activities like spoken word.

Don't forget to catch up on all the Facebook and Instagram content, if you haven't already. :)

 

5) Online Refugee Fest: 

We will also be conducting our first-ever online Refugee Fest during the refugee week; 15-20 June. This will include talks from young speakers who are change-makers and active social entrepreneurs who help refugee and displaced communities and musicians. The fest will be a stimulant to urge people to contribute proactively should they have the monetary abilities to do so while simultaneously increasing awareness on the current scenario and sensitizing them.

 

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We have been so fortunate to have had all the support, love and blessings from each and every one of you to carry out our labour of love. It wouldn’t have been possible otherwise and we’re only looking at going upwards and onwards. We even have ground projects being planned with our camps. 

 

LOTS AND LOTS MORE COMING YOUR WAY!

 

STAY TUNED.

 

Sending socially-distant and sanitised hugs, right at ya!

 

Stay strong. Stay hopeful.

And in a world where you can be anything, be kind.

 

THANK YOU.

A thousand times over.

 

Love from all over the world.
Love from all over the world.
Happy Faces - 1
Happy Faces - 1
Happy Faces - 2
Happy Faces - 2
Happy Faces - 3
Happy Faces - 3
Happy Faces - 4
Happy Faces - 4
Dear Heroes Campaign
Dear Heroes Campaign

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Joy at Skaramagas Refugee Camp
Joy at Skaramagas Refugee Camp

Hello Hello :D
We have SO much to tell you !

The end of a year and the segue into the new year is always the busiest and most happening time at Letters of Love. Taking you through the joyous journey chronologically. Please note that we have obtained permission from the students mentioned to use their first names. 

1. UNIVERSAL CHILDREN'S DAY - NOVEMBER 20, 2019
Mentored and led by our teen coordinators Gabby & Kenzi, 35 high school students from 17 countries are juggling school work and extracurriculars to organise sensitisation sessions and kick starting #LettersofLove clubs in their schools to raise awareness about the #refugeecrisis amongst their peers. Their idea of fun is designing a pop-up whenever they have the time between their tests and semester exams to collect letters and pictures. Our ambassadors who work with Letters of Love - Egypt are also part of the operational side of translating the letters and shipping them to the camps worldwide. This universal children's day, they came together to push the message - Children should be seen AND heard.

Watch the inspiring video with each of their voices here.

2. STARTHROWER FELLOW IN ACTION
Jad , a 17 year old fellow of ours who is a Palestinian student in King's Academy, Jordan, started a Letters of Love co-curricular in his school. As part of the program, he mentored 20 classmates and conducted sensititsation sessions for them. They also translated more than a 100 English messages to Arabic. At the end of the program, he organised a visit to the Red Cross centre in Madaba, Jordan where he and his team spent the day with 50 odd Syrian refugee children and spread joy and learning with art, music, dance and fun games.

Watch Jad and team in action here.


3. NY2020 LETTER DRIVE.
The biggest campaign of the yaer for us is the New year campaign where this year, we sent thousands of letters to our implementation partners in Greece, Turkey, Palestine and India. Th letters were collected online, translated to respective languages and then handwritten by our Egypt chapter volunteers.


4. WE NOW HAVE A DENMARK CHAPTER
Sowjanya  and Wendy came forward to start a Letters of Love Denmark chapter and kickstarted it with a Pop Up. Around 30 people came together to talk about refugee crises around the world and wrote letters to refugee children at the end of it. They already have a handful of local projects lined up for the rest of the year!


5. PRIDE OF ABU DHABI AWARD
Sean  who is a 15 year old high school student and our ace Student Ambassadorfrom  the UAE was awarded the Pride of Abu Dhabi amongst many other bright minds in the category of ' Young Achiever ' award. As a student ambassador, Sean has already organised two #LettersofLove pop-ups and is working constantly within the community to raise awareness about the refugee crisis and other causes he is passionate about. We are sure that this is the first of many awards to come Sean's way !


6. VALENTINE'S DAY
It was a day packed with love at Rohingya Refugee camp, Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi. We collaborated with Clownselers, our partner organisation that uses clowning as a tool to heal trauma. We spent the whole day with the kids playing games and spreding laughter. The children were also informed about sanitation and safety by the clowns in a fun way. "Please come back every now and then. We have so much fun learning with you!", Amna, a 11 year old told us :)

LOOK AT ALL THE PICTURES DOWN BELOW IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE US !



We're moving headstrong into this new year and are hoping for your support to continue our work in 2020 with more partners and collaborations already onboard (YAY!)

Leaving you with a warm hug of words,
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better; it's not!"

We're counting on you!

Thank you very much.

Valentine's Day with clowns!
Valentine's Day with clowns!
Volunteers at work !
Volunteers at work !
Children's day fun at Al-Ayyen Camp, Palestine
Children's day fun at Al-Ayyen Camp, Palestine
Letters of Love- Egypt Chapter
Letters of Love- Egypt Chapter
Sean winning the Pride of Abu Dhabi award!
Sean winning the Pride of Abu Dhabi award!
Jad and team at Red Cross centre, Madaba, Jordan
Jad and team at Red Cross centre, Madaba, Jordan
Rohingya refugee children & their clown friends!
Rohingya refugee children & their clown friends!
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Gabby with the handwritten letters she collected
Gabby with the handwritten letters she collected

Dear Friend,

I will try to convey to you all that Letters of Love means to me, but this is near impossible as Letters of Love means so much more to me than can be expressed in words. I found Letters of Love as a 12 year old, searching for a Bat Mitzvah project requirement I needed to fulfill, but I ended up finding a family that always seems to renew my faith in humanity. Learning about the Refugee Crisis, I saw myself in the eyes of the heart-broken children. I started to collect letters, but after finding no where to send them, I searched and emailed and called and searched some more until I found Letters of Love. I soaked up the description on the website and reached out to my soon to be role model and incredible friend, Pooja (the founder of LOL). She got back to me and we video-called, but little did I know how this would change my life. 

I am now a Student Ambassador Co-leader at Letters and I have learnt a lot so far (being 15 now) and know this is just the beginning of my journey.

I often go through times where I feel overwhelmed by the darkness in the world and the tragedies  that fill my news feed. I cry seeing the next victims murdered, their loved ones' pain, the hate of the offender, and I am left lost, helpless, scared, and stuck. One time after a school shooting in the US, a LOL student ambassador decided to do a drive for the school affected. This showed me that I am not stuck. That I can do something that will actually help in a situation so horrifying. This realization was empowering. And everytime I give presentations about the Refugee Crisis, I am taken aback by the genuine empathy I see in my peers eyes and in the letters they write. It restores my hope in this world. My hope is that this love will only grow and I feel so lucky to be a part of something that can’t sit still when there’s love to spread.

With gratitude and love,
Gabby.


Gabby leads the Student Ambassador Programme of Letters of Love, a programme inspired by her which currently is a community of 30+ incredible high school students from 17 countries. Aside school work and other academic commitments, these teenagers raise awareness, inculcate empathy amongst peers, carry out letter writing drives, pop-ups in public spaces, Letters of Love clubs and co-curriculars, arrange for field visits and psychosocial support workshops et al and constantly works towards empowering displaced communities. They also use letters as a medium to address social issues int heir own local communities around gender, gun violence, climate, prison reform, war veterans etc. All our Student Ambassadors are mentored and guided by Pooja Pradeep, an exceptional Educator and our Founder alongside Ella Neville, an incredible Teacher based out of Boston, USA and our Educational Programs Manager.

2019 marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of Children (CRC30) and November 20th marking World Children's Day, we decided to celebrate our young changemakers, those who are empowering their contemporaries born in unfortunate circumstances, doing whatever they can, with whatever they have, wherever they are. Watch a video here where they tell you why they believe that 'Children hould be seen AND heard'. 

In other news, Pooja on behalf of the organisation was invited to attend the UNHCR Nansen Award Ceremony at Geneva in early October where she along with Paul Hutchings, Co-Founder of Refugee Support Europe, briefly interacted with Azizbek Ashurov, the Nansen Awardee 2019, and chatted on the importance of volunteering. Letters of Love being an entirely volunteer run and led organisation, supported by your genorosity makes us a force of nature that spreads joy to ten thousands of refugee children.

We're moving into the giving season and are hoping for your support to continue our work in 2020 with more partners and collaborations already onboard (YAY!)

Leaving you with a warm hug of words,
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better; it's not!"

We're counting on you!

Thank you very much.

Sean at his Pop-Up, collecting letters, in Dubai
Sean at his Pop-Up, collecting letters, in Dubai
Pooja & Paul with Azizbek Ashurov at Nansen Awards
Pooja & Paul with Azizbek Ashurov at Nansen Awards
LOL Club of King's Academy,Jordan on a field visit
LOL Club of King's Academy,Jordan on a field visit
Sensitisation Workshop led by Malek in Palestine
Sensitisation Workshop led by Malek in Palestine
Eric leading a Sensitisation Workshop in Florida
Eric leading a Sensitisation Workshop in Florida

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Dear Diary,

Hello! I want to write about today.
Today was such a fun day! We started the day with making birds and rockets out of coloured paper. It's called origami. We made around 50 colourful birds which we will hang in the classroom tomorrow.We then played cricket and also learnt how to play football. I scored 1 goal but my team lost. I'm still happy.

After that we spoke about who we want to be when we grow up so that we could draw balloons on the wall and write our ambition in a balloon. I want to be a doctor so I wrote that on a pink balloon on the wall. I want to learn how to be better at English so that I can write more things on the wall.

I wish they would keep coming to school every day. Coming to class is a lot of fun now and even the teachers love it.

I can't wait for tomorrow. Didi promised us that we'l be painting on rocks and will also get ice cream. I love ice cream! I will write about it tomorrow.

Bye for now.

( Diary entry written by Ali, a 11 year old Rohingya refugee boy after Day 4 of the Welcome Refugees Fest 2019, shared here with his permission )

Letters of Love in collaboration with a handful of incredible organisations, local and international, hosted its first ever week-long 'Welcome Refugees' fest at the Roghinya Refugee Camp in New Delhi. From 14th June, there were games, recreational activities, art, dance and sports workshops, educational talks et al leading up to World Refugee Day on June 20.

Every day from 9am -12pm, a team of 25 youngsters from all over New Delhi, India, trained by the Letters of Love team led by Pooja, our Founder & Executive Director, spent time with 50+ children in the makeshift school at the camp, doing a myriad of things from playing games, engaging them with arts and crafts, teaming them up to compete against each other to conducting empathy-centric activities. In an effort to build bridges, the final day was open to visitors in order to encourage friendships and connections where 15 visitors showed up, particpated in activities with the children and also bought the hand painted cards, painted rocks and other craft work the children have done over the past week. All the sales were forwarded to the school. We also provided snacks and lunch for the children throughout the course of the fest. Ice creams were evidently their favourite :)


The teachers of the school took part as well and thoroughly enjoyed having expert volunteers impart new skill-sets to the children. Needless to say, the children enjoyed it thoroughly!

Thank YOU for enabling this joy.
We are truly grateful to your generous heart!

This was a pilot project connecting the local youth with the migrant community in the area and was a huge success. Letters of Love team is now gearing up for more projects in refugee hotspots around the world, leveraging our youth network to impart psychosocial support to refugee children.

We are counting on your support. Please stay tuned.


Here's to doing whatever we can, with whatever we have, wherever we are :)

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Love, all the way from Syria.
Love, all the way from Syria.

"Dear friend,
My name is Ali and I'm 7 years old. I am very happy to get your letter. It made me happy. The colours are very pretty and thank you for the stickers. I keep them safe in my bag.
I am from Aleppo. Now I live in Swaida. A bomb dropped on my house and it is pieces now. So we had to come here. My father and sister are not with us anymore. I don't know where they are. I'm here with my mother and brothers. We love to play outside a lot. What games do you like ? I want to become a doctor when i grow up so that I can treat people around me. They're all suffering. I will go to school one day again. 
I hope you like my drawings. 
Please come visit us with your friends.We will play.
Hugs.
Ali."

(Letter translated from Arabic verbatim, written by Ali, a 7 year old internally displaced child in Syria, to his pen-pal in India)

Letters of Love's Pen Pal Project for the third time in two years facilitated the exchange of hundred pen-pal letters and continues to foster these incredible friendships across lines of conflict. In collaboration with Clap Global, an educational entity that leverages travellers in local classrooms to encourage cross-cultural learning, our trainers conducted sensitisation workshops in schools across Mumbai, India. The students once sensitised to the global refugee crises using the Syrian war and its consequential refugee crisis as a case study were inspired to come up with action oriented ways to help the community. Encouraging them to write letters, asking questions, explaining about their own identity and culture and allowing them to articulate through art and colours yielded joy and a sense of responsibility amongst students. 

Our Syrian chapter based out of Al-Swaida in Syria, hosted a full day of fun activities and psychosocial support workshops in which the Pen Pal Project was facilitated on their end. The children received the letters and wrote back to their friends and also made endearing drawings. They insited on hand making envelopes and all of them were labelled 'Love from Syria!'.

Due to logistical restraints owing to shipment to and from a war torn country, the whole process took 8 months but was indeed, worth the wait.

Thank YOU for enabling these magical friendships :)
We are truly grateful to your generous heart!

Letters of Love team is now gearing up for World Refugee Day 2019 on June 20th and are counting on your support. Please stay tuned.

Here's to doing whatever we can, with whatever we have, wherever we are.

Letters of Love-Syrian Chapter spreading smiles.
Letters of Love-Syrian Chapter spreading smiles.
His letter to his Syrian friend
His letter to his Syrian friend
Birth of magical friendships.
Birth of magical friendships.

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Organization Information

Letters of Love Inc

Location: New Castle, DE - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lettersoflove18
Project Leader:
Pooja Pradeep
Mumbai, Maharashtra India
$16,256 raised of $30,000 goal
 
307 donations
$13,744 to go
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