Dubai students pen letters of hope to refugees in Iraq
The Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation will distribute the letters to refugees across camps in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.
More than 700 Dubai students have penned letters of hope and support to youth living in Iraq-based refugee camps.
The letters were part of Amity University's social awareness programme in collaboration with The Lighthouse Cohort as the social impact partners. It was held under the theme 'respect enhances human dignity' and was carried out to bring hope to the refugees in the month of Ramadan.
The Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation will distribute the letters to refugees across camps in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, located in Iraqi Kurdistan, along with solar lights.
Justin Paolo M Arevalo, an applied psychology student, wrote two letters, including a poem. He asked the refugees "not to lose hope despite the trials and tribulations of life that they are currently facing".
"The poem I wrote is entitled 'From Letters to Miracles' and was written for the purpose of expressing my empathy towards the refugees. I had always believed that words are powerful tools to convey something that can only be felt deep within ourselves," Arevalo said.
"These letters will provide the refugees a glimmer of hope and let them know that they are not alone in their adversity... that there are people who care and wish that eve-rything will be alright for them. The power of words should not be underestimated, especially if they come from what you really feel deep inside."
Another psychology student who took part in the initiative, Shruti Sharma, said she witnessed students rallying up pupils from other universities to participate as well, helping them surpass their initial goal of writing 500 letters.
She said "being able to write a few words of hope, inspiration and joy to those suffering unimaginable atrocities, was extremely meaningful".
"When I started writing the letters myself, I couldn't stop. The realisation that a few minutes of my time and energy could add even a little bit of happiness to another's day, was the fuel," Sharma said. She believes the letters can help the refugees by helping them realise they are "not alone".
"For a person that is experiencing such distress, the very feeling of knowing that she/he isn't alone - that there are people who might not be related to them but are connected in spirit and haven't forgotten about them - is what could give them so much emotional strength. It would give the refugees' lives so much more hope, in a seemingly desolate and bleak present.
Sharma says their resilience can be so much more enhanced when they know they aren't alone in their struggles. "They can feel that the world beyond their immediate surroundings is waiting for them with open arms, just as the letters say. As a student of psychology, my biggest learning has been that if one has mental and emotional strength, half of the struggle is taken care of. And if our words, drawings and letters can impart a modicum of strength to our refugee brothers and sisters, what is better?"
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