Young Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya, have sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who have also had to flee their homeland because of the ongoing crisis.
The young Somali students reside in the Dadaab refugee camp, in north-eastern Kenya. It is home to nearly 400,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled conflict, drought and famine in Somalia over the last 23 years.
Care International, the aid agency that provides many basic services at the camp, organised the pen pal exchange and delivered the handwritten letters to Syrian children at the Refugee Assistance Centre in Amman, Jordan.
They offer messages of solidarity, encouragement and advice to their “dear brothers and sisters”.
Many urge the importance of studying and gaining an education while in the camps.
“I am sure 100% that if you practise learning and struggling, you will excel at the end,” writes Hibo Mahamed Dubow. “Last but not least, I tell you not to lose hope because you have been refugees for only three years. What do you think of people who are refugees for about two decades?”
“Our beloved brothers and sisters, go and work hard in school, be the stars and the new presidents of Syria,” says Dahir Mohamed.
“We are praying for you God gives you better life and with the help of God as soon as possible you will get peace in your country because we are feeling the same way you are feeling,” writes Abshir Hussein.
“Don’t be hopeless, we are with you, and if there is war in your country, tolerance is necessary,” writes Zahra Dahir Ali.
Zakariye Mohamed wrote a message of hope. “My brothers and sisters, you are not alone,” says Zakariye Mohamed.
The Syrians responded with warmth. The Syrian refugee children received each of their letters with a photo of the writer. The photo below shows a boy holding his envelope with a photo of Zakariye Mohamed inside.
The letters were well received by the young Syrians, says Care International, and they are now writing responses to be delivered back to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.