This month marks five years since the start of the conflict in Syria.
Last fall, when I posted about groups of volunteers giving their time, energy, and funds to support the refugees in Europe, I felt like I couldn’t contribute much to support refugee families all the way from here in the States.
My heart felt heavy and burdened to do something.
That’s when CARE came in.
Who is CARE?
CARE is a humanitarian organization leading the fight against global poverty with an emphasis on supporting women and children.
What is CARE doing?
CARE is doing this amazing project, called Special Delivery, providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugee families but with a twist. (CARE’s project has been seen on Mashable and PBS News.) So far, “CARE has reached more than 1 million Syrians with humanitarian relief, from food baskets and grocery debit cards to emergency shelter and hygiene kits.”
This current refugee crisis has been the largest since World War II. Refugee children from World War II can relate to the horrific experiences of war, and CARE asked a few of the World War II refugee children who are now in their 70s and 80s to write a letter to Syrian refugee children experiencing similar situations. Check out this video to see how people are connecting:
History seems to be repeating itself, and yet connecting human experiences from the past to the present can offer compassion and hope in the midst of difficult circumstances. Take for example, Gunter who grew up during WWII and how he connected with Zaher, an eight-year old Syrian student, now living in Jordan.
(Photo: CARE/Carey Wagner)
Here, Zaher with his father and siblings are reading a letter from Gunter. Along with the letter, Gunter is an expert paper airplane maker, and he sends a few of his special creations to Zaher.
(Photo: CARE/Carey Wagner)
Zaher’s father enjoys seeing his son have a rare light moment. “Living through this war has affected Zaher’s psychological state so much,” he says. ‘He’s quiet and doesn’t engage with people as much. His life is just so different now than it was when we lived in Syria. He doesn’t have many possessions now, like his toys. Things are not available the way we need them to be, and I cannot provide for him like I did when we were in Syria. My hands are tied here. I have nothing to give now.” Zaher’s father said Gunter’s letter had an almost haunting familiarity to it. “I felt like it was me who was also suffering right with him,” he said. “It was like reading my life.”
Now that we know about CARE’s Special Delivery project, there is another question we have to ask ourselves.
How can we help?
1. You can go to CARE’s website.
2. Send a letter to a refugee child.
CARE asks that you limit your note to 255 characters, but here is my extended version:
Dear Precious Little One,
Hi, my name is Ms. Betty. I am a mother to two little ones, perhaps around the same age as you. Although we have never met, I wanted to let you know that there are many people around the world who care for you and your family.
CARE and many volunteers around the world are bringing help in small ways, such as this care package that you received. May you and your family find strength, courage, hope, and love through these small acts of kindness.
With warm regards,
Do you feel like the refugee crisis is a world away?
I did too, but we CAN do something about it. If you can, write a note or get a friend or loved one to take down your thoughts. Then send the note. Words can be a powerful opportunity to demonstrate love, hope, and kindness.
3. You can also donate to CARE.
No amount is too little. Every bit helps.
4. Then share your story.
We all have a story to tell. Let others know how they can write a letter or donate to CARE’s project. You can even share a snippet of your story on social media at:
Feel free to use the following hashtags: #WithSyria #CAREPackage #SpecialDelivery.
Couldn’t we all use a little more compassion and hope in our lives?
Let’s give our words hope and meaning to someone on the other side of the world.
From my hometown to yours,