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27/05/2017 - 07:00hs

Children write letters to Syrian refugees

Students from AESC Objetivo middle and high schools in Valinhos, 92 km from São Paulo, wrote letters that will be delivered to refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

Press Release

Letters written in English will be translated by NGO Care International

São Paulo – Dozens of letters written by students of school AESC Objetivo, in Valinhos, 92 km from São Paulo, will be translated into Arabic and delivered to Syrian refugees living in camps organized by the United Nations (UN) in Lebanon or Jordan. Although written randomly, with no specific recipients, the letters will bring solidarity to the people suffering with the conflits in their homeland.

The project, organized and headed by Aline Ferrarezi, has the support of the NGO Care International, from Atlanta, United States. They will be responsible for the translation from English into Arabic and the forwarding of the letters to the UN camps.

The letters were written in English because, in the beginning, they were part of an exercise proposed by Ferrarezi to the students from Middle School’s eighth and High School’s first year (eighth and ninth grades of Brazil’s Middle School). Last year, she, who is an English teacher, showed in one of her classes a video produced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about two Syrian girls and their rag dolls, and it attracted the children’s attention.

“The children were very touched and moved with the story of the girls. So, I proposed for them to write a letter to these girls”, says the teacher. These letters were then published in a blog set up by her.

After the letters, the topic of refugees stuck in the students’ minds and the school board, thus, decided to study the issue further. Last year still, they invited Amer Salha, a Syrian refugee living in Campinas, 99 km from São Paulo and near Valinhos, to come and talk with the school’s students. It was a success. “Even today, there’s a student still in touch with him,” says Ferrarezi.

With the topic still fresh in her students’ minds, the teacher decided to innovate this year. She searched the internet for NGOs that work with refugees and came across Care International. The contact resulted in the project Love Letters. This time, the letters written by the students will be sent to Syrian refugees.

Over 140 letters were written, by students from the Middle School’s eighth and High School’s first year – and some others that volunteered to write also. “Some high school students wrote letters, even though it was not an assignment of theirs. The idea is to expand and bring the topic to other high school classes, and possibly even younger students. Not least because even a drawing can make a huge difference to these refugees,” explains the teacher.

The issue of refugees has always been a constant in Ferrarezi’s life. She says that a family of Syrian refugees is neighbors with her mom, and that they settled in the city and even became entrepreneurs. The support is, therefore, a great satisfaction for the English teacher, who intended only to screen a video to encourage a debate in the classroom.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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