For sisters Taibah and Maisarah Alnadawi, having the opportunity to write letters of hope to the people of Syria was a small way to give back to the country that used to be their home.
“It means a lot that we can help in some way even though we are not there,” said Taibah Alnadawi, a freshman double majoring in political science and international business. “I spent most of my childhood in Syria. I still have family living there.”
University of Arkansas at Little Rock students, staff, and faculty wrote “Letters of Hope for Syria” on Monday, Nov. 13, as part of International Celebration Week. The letters will be delivered to Syria by the Wisdom House, a Conway-based nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid to the people of Syria and sponsor a school and women’s center.
Monnar Quattom, junior psychology major and president of the Student Muslim Association, was inspired to organize the letter-writing event after hearing Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, speak about his humanitarian efforts to help people in Syria during a Sept. 19 visit to UA Little Rock.
“I wanted UA Little Rock to get involved,” Quattom said. “I want the people of Syria to know that the U.S. is not abandoning them. We have people everyday who are praying for this war to end.”
In her letter, Ashley Pearson, recruitment coordinator with the Office of Admissions, told the Syrian people that they are in her thoughts and prayers and to be hopeful for the future.
“I enjoy working with international students, and I think this is a great project to show unity and to give hope to the Syrian people,” Pearson said.
The Alnadawi sisters left Syria in 2009, but visited Syria in summer 2016.
“Everything is pretty much destroyed, but there are still people living there trying to rebuild everything destroyed by the war,” Taibah Alnadawi said. “All you see are ruined buildings. It basically looks like a desert now.”
In her letter to the Syrian people, Taibah Alnadawi encourages them to have patience.
“I’m telling them that they will be fine as long as we show our support,” she said. “We are here for them, and we are sending as much love as we can.”
Meanwhile, her sister, Maisarah Alnadawi, junior engineering major, writes wishes of safety and peace for the people of Syria.
“I told them to stay safe out there and that I hope they have peace soon and that we are always there for them,” she said.
In the upper right photo, University of Arkansas at Little Rock students write Letters of Hope to Syria as part of International Celebration Week. Photo by Brittany Wright.