During the early days of Arab Spring, when there was rage amongst the Syrian civilians, eighteen-year-old Mohammad found a young boy shot in the middle of the street. While no one even noticed his presence, Mohammad picked him up and took him to the hospital. After realising that Mohammad had saved his life, the little boy bid him goodbye with a simple ‘thank you’.
This was only a few years ago, when terror hadn’t reached its horrifying state in the country. As of today, there are many little children in the middle of a war, struggling with their families to find a home away from home but there are lesser people like Mohammed who can help because the country has become a land of military and violence. Civilians have been displaced from their houses, from each other and into different continents. While it is difficult for one to have a bare understanding of the politics of being a refugee, Deepak Ramola and his team at Project FUEL have been doing their bit of making the world more sensitive to such issues.
As a life skill education based initiative, the team is currently on The Masterpiece Tour--a 90-day-long journey that aims to connect the refugees with citizens of countries that have provided asylum to them. By conducting workshops that provide the participants with life-based skills, this tour is conclusively making people more apathetic towards each other as they struggle amidst the ongoing crisis. When Ramola was teaching at an international school in Stockholm as part of the tour, he saw a great opportunity to pass on the life lesson of ‘having a conversation with a refugee’, even if it is a one-sided dialogue.
All through the years, Ramola’s love for letter-writing initiated him to use the art as the medium to have this sort of conversation. He explains to Homegrown, “As the last exercise, I asked the kids to take a moment to think about all the stories and lessons they had learnt in the class. Then to think of that one refugee whose story most resonated with them and pen down a letter to him/her. What would they say if that person could sit next to them that very moment?”
Moreover he wanted to create a project that is for the greater good. By informing a young child today, they are educating an adult of the future. He adds, “In the media, we only get to hear the adults but the truth remains that thousands of children are being affected by the refugee migration. Every day, you can see a video on social media that shows the barbaric atrocities a kid is suffering because of the war in Syria. I wanted to make sure another kid of the same age in another country (mostly the one hosting the refugee kids from Syria) encourages oneself to speak and initiate a dialogue.”
What followed were extremely powerful and intimate letters, hand-written by young children from 60 different nationalities. Each organic in its own way, the letters are completely uncensored with feelings and love from these young students, bringing them emotionally closer to the refugees. Scroll below to read some of our favorites, while the rest can be found over here.
I don’t know who you are or what you have gone through. But as someone who has been so privileged, a young white girl, with somewhat a family, I need to apologize for being so mean and selfish and disrespectful to so many I love and care for. I wish you love and happiness, joy and everlasting friendship because though I know I can’t with most emotions. That is all I think of when I think of you.
I am very sorry for what has happened to you! I wish that everybody could have an as good life as me. I have learned that lives are like rollercoasters, sometimes good times and sometimes bad. To all you have to do when you are sad you just have to wait till you get to the high past of the roller coaster.
Julian Ley 12 years old”
I want to welcome you. We love and accept you for who you are. Here is hope and many possibilities.
My life lesson
“No matter where, even in the darkest cave there is hope.”
I am sorry not to know you’re name, and though I know you have been through things so awful I cannot understand them, just hope and want you to stay strong.
Life is tough, more for some than others, but you can make things better, with people like myself who you don’t even know behind you all the way.
Best of luck,
Alexandra Blake (13 years old)“
I am spoilt, I get what I want and get to go where I want. I don’t know you and you don’t know me but I know that one day you will look back and think about how far you have come!
Never stop believing in yourself. You can do anything!
Best of luck!
Follow Project FUEL’s journey on their Facebook, as they collect life-lessons from refugees.