Syria crisis: Uplifting letters of hope

Young Somali refugees hold up the letters they've written to Syrian refugees

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.

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.

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'I'm a refugee like you'

A Somali girl holds up the letter she has written Hibo Mahamed Dubow with her letter

"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?"

A letter from a Somali refugee to a Syrian child. Includes lines such as "In future you can rebuild your country you will get peace and no longer be a refugee" and "I am really encouraging you not to lose hope".
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'Be the stars and the new presidents'

Dahir Mohamed holds up his letter Dahir Mohamed wrote an inspirational letter

"Our beloved brothers and sisters, go and work hard in school, be the stars and the new presidents of Syria," says Dahir Mohamed.

Dahir Mohamed's letter has two hearts drawn on it, one with a flag of Somalia and another of Syria, with the words "brother and sister" in between
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'We are feeling the same way'

Abshir Hussein holding up his letter while wearing a yellow shirt Abshir Hussein entitled his letter 'Encouragement and hope for the refugees'

"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.

A letter from a Somali refugee to a Syrian child, including the lines: "We are feeling the same way that you are feeling", and "Try to start a new life which is much better than before"
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'I am encouraging you to learn'

Zahra holds up her letter Be patient, says Zahra Dahir Ali

"Don't be hopeless, we are with you, and if there is war in your country, tolerance is necessary," writes Zahra Dahir Ali

The front of Zahra's letter, advising the Syrian refugees to work hard and "be polite"
Zahra's letter on the back, which included a drawing of a flower with the words "I love my country"
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'We will get peace'

Zakariye holds up his letter Zakariye Mohamed wrote a message of hope
A colourful heart has been drawn on a piece of paper

"My brothers and sisters, you are not alone," says Zakariye Mohamed.

A letter from a Somali refugee to a Syrian child. Includes a list advising to "be patient", "respect their teachers" "help each other".
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Syrian replies

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.

A Syrian boy holds a photo of a Somali refugee who has sent him a letter
A Syrian girl holds a photo of a Somali refugee who has sent her a letter
A photo of a Somali girl is held up next to her letter
A Syrian girl holds a photo of a Somali refugee who has sent her a letter

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