Letters of Love 2017

by - October 04, 2016

Letters of Love is back.
Last New Year, we brought a smile on the faces of thousands of children stuck in a war they did not ask for. And we did it from the comfort of where we sat without making a single extra effort.
We gave them hope as the New Year began. I use the word 'we' very cavalierly because the truth is, I am just one of you - a person who took a picture of himself and shared it on social media.

The true architect behind this selfless endeavour to let the war-ravaged young refugees of Syria know we care for them is 24 year old Pooja Pradeep who chose to be different last year and give the children something that would last - emotional support.

Concept:

In collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Letters of Love is looking to get your personalized messages of hope and love from all over the world sent as New Year Greetings to the war-afflicted children from Syria - now refugees of the worst humanitarian crisis the world has known this decade.

They did it successfully last year,  ensuring the children got their cards by New Year 2016.

Children with postcards from Letters of Love


Children with postcards from Letters of Love
This was New Year 2016. Refugee children from Syria and Iraq at Community Centers of Mercy Corps , International Medical Corps / Association for Solidarity of Asylum Seekers & Migrants and Support To Life across Turkey celebrating their Letters of Love which had been distributed during their New Year celebrations (video here , including one where the children say Thanks)


This year, the cards will be sent to tens of thousands of children, presently seeking refuge in community centres in South-West Turkey (FYI - Turkey is the second largest refugee hosting nation in the world behind Jordan).  In 11 days since the Letters of Love 2017 initiative began, 2428 'love letters' have arrived. That is amazing. You can make it even more amazing.

The thing is you do not have to do anything extra-ordinary.

  1.  Take a happy picture of yourself. It could be a smile, a funny face, one with your pets or anything you can think of.  Avoid selfies (may get cropped while making postcards), images with food/materialistic goods and obscene gestures.
  2. Add a message with a few kind words of encouragement and positivity.
  3. Message it to Letters of Love 2017

Postcards sent from all over the world to Letters of Love
All images are taken from Letters Of Love

That is it. That is literally all that you have to do.
Pooja and the team at Letters of Love will convert the image you give into a postcard and get your words translated into Syrian-Arabic before couriering all the cards received by mid-December.

Impact:

I said this last year and I still believe it holds true today:
"I pray you did not but you may also have been unfortunate to have had to suffer your worst moments alone, watching everyone you cared about disappear in your time of need. If so, you know what it would be like to get a ray of hope from an unlikely source. Hand written words and a smile telling you that you are not forgotten... that you matter to someone.

To a child who had lost his/her parents, home and land, I think it would matter. I think it could make the difference between them giving up on humanity and starting to hope once more. I think it could make the difference between a path of hatred & distrust or a path of love & forgiveness that they choose growing up."


Letters of Love at VIT University, Tamil Nadu. September 2016
VIT University, Tamil Nadu. September 2016
Over 2000 students  posed and shared for 'Letters of Love'

Every day, week and month, you and I take pictures of ourselves for social media. We aim for the likes and shares from friends and strangers alike, all to feel better about ourselves.
How about we use it to bring a smile on the faces of someone who really needs it this year? How about we make someone else smile and laugh this New Year with that very same picture... someone whose world has been shattered and could really use your smile to brighten up their day or even year? 

I have already sent my silly picture and a message of love, just as I did last year.
I hope you will join me this year.

Authors note:

You can message your picture and your positive message to Letters of Love 2017 on Facebook here.


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19 comments

  1. Sharing this on social media. I have mixed feelings about this - not the concept, which I believe is an excellent idea, but the aspect of showing the face of an adult woman in my picture, which may or may not be culturally sensitive. It's a quibble, perhaps, but I was born into a culture with some similar aspects, and I rarely show my face on social media. I would never want to cause discomfort.

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    Replies
    1. It is okay not to do it... but atleast share so that others can know about it and make a choice as well :)

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  2. Thank you for spreading such a good initiative, will positively send my picture.
    It always feels good to bring smile on other's faces :)

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    Replies
    1. That's what we do too in our profession, right? :)

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  3. wondefful idea and would like to join .....

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  4. Oh wow! This time I must try to get mine out too. Thanks for all you do to make the world a better place, Roshan.

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    Replies
    1. Sigh... it isn't enough. It just does not feel enough.

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  5. This is a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing it and I will do so, as well.

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  6. How did I miss this post last year, Doc?! I usually never miss any of your posts :/

    Damn, such a lovely thing to do.
    I do have a question though... Is it necessary to have my face in the picture? Can it be a little collage of stuff?

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    Replies
    1. Not really sure... basically they aim for happy pics... perhaps you could message them directly. They do reply asap

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  7. I too posted Letters of Love last year and will do it this year as well!

    Thanks for sharing, doc!

    Cheers
    Geets

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  8. Such a beautiful gesture! Love you for doin this!

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  9. Very sweet initiative, Roshan! Kudos to Pooja. Thank you for writing about this!

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  10. It's a great initiative to share love and hatred. We need to show that love matters the most and will triumph.

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So what do you think ?