Across generations and wars, hand-written letters let refugees know they’re not alone

CCTV News

HSY.00_01_18_00.Still001

As Syria continues to endure five years of civil war, some reports say the number killed exceeds 300,000, while nearly 5 million have fled their homes.

A month-old cease-fire has greatly reduced violence, and greatly increased humanitarian aid.
But, as a sixth year of conflict begins, one relief organization is delivering messages of hope and compassion.

CCTV’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports from the Colorado.

Hand-written letters let refugees know they\'re not alone

Hand-written letters let refugees know they\'re not alone

As Syria continues to endure five years of civil war, some reports say the number killed exceeds 300,000, while nearly 5 million have fled their homes. As a sixth year of conflict begins, one relief organization is delivering messages of hope and compassion. CCTV's Hendrik Sybrandy reports from the Colorado.

It was very personal for Helga Kissell who wrote her now-husband Leo frequently during World War II when they lived in Germany and America. It was a different time.

“That’s one of the things I think we lose nowadays is the person to person contact. And it’s very sad really.”

What hasn’t changed unfortunately is the way war violently uproots people. Millions of Syrians have been driven from their homes. It happened to Helga when her Berlin home was bombed in 1945.

“Went to the railroad station which was wall to wall people, all trying to get out. And as it happened, our train was the next to last train that ever left this city.”

Who then can better understand the plight of Sajeda, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee who is the same age Helga was when she became a refugee?

Recently, the poverty-fighting organization CARE began connecting past and present refugees, past and present recipients of CARE aid packages, with the help of, of all things, the letter.

As part of CARE’s Special Delivery program, Helga wrote to Sajeda in Zarqa, Jordan.

She struck a chord with a teenager whose future is uncertain, who feels like she left herself in Syria.

“I would like to thank Helga very much. She made me feel like I exist,” Sajeda said. “Even though I have not met her in person, now she plays an important role in my life.”

The 87-year-old Colorado woman said writing her letter helped her come to terms with her own experience. While comforting someone thousands of miles away.

“And if a letter can do it I think that’s wonderful,” Kissell said.