Write your own letters to refugees
Whether you are writing to child or an adult there are a few things that are similar in approach. There are, of course, some things that are also very different.
Firstly, their command of English may not be very strong – this applies to both children and adults. Keep the language very simple and clear.
If typing use a large clear font to make it as easy to read as possible. If handwritten, print clearly – do not use running writing (cursive).
- Introduce yourself
- your age, family situation/position
- where you live – what the area is like – beach, suburb, rural, village, farm
- to adults – you may mention your occupation
- to children – you can talk about activities, sport, hobbies
- to both children and adults talk about you interests
What to say
Be friendly and supportive. You want your communication to be a distraction from their situation.
Let them know there are lots of people interested in them and their lives.
Discuss their traditional foods, music, culture etc.
Follow on from their conversations.
Be positive without raising unreasonable hope. Steer them away from dwelling on the negatives.
Drawings, pictures, photos, poems and lots of colour and decoration can add to the excitement of receiving the letter.
What not to say
Be culturally sensitive
- if unsure whether to mention something – don’t
- Politics, sex or religion are all are potential danger areas that can lead to misunderstandings and barriers to friendly communication
- Don’t ask about conditions – this will only help them to focus on the negatives
- Don’t discuss their prospects. Although it is good to keep them hopeful it is unwise to unreasonably raise their hopes which could lead to depression if these hopes are not realised.
- Their exit from their homeland and the trip so far may have been extremely traumatic so avoid this topic. However, follow their lead if they feel the need to share the story.
Remember they may be traumatised so the need for tact and sensitivity is paramount.
Apart from all of the above, communicating with a refugee or a person seeking asylum can be a very rewarding experience. We can learn so much about other cultures and can form true friendships. To be able to let a person know that others care for their well-being and want to welcome them is a valuable gift.
If you want more information communicate with us via our contact page.