These letters from American children to Syrians show incredible humanity and love

Jonathan McBride
Mar 15, 2017 · 6 min read

You are loved in a million places.

This is the message that fourth-grader Zola Pierce Heartman of Boise wrote in her letter to Syrian children — kids whose childhoods have been spent searching for safety, shelter, food, and water.

Today marks six years of jarring violence and wasted life in Syria. Six years without school, work or access to the basic needs of human survival.

It’s children like Zola and students from the Sage International School who, when given a chance, show us that providing desperately-needed aid really doesn’t have to be complicated.

With the International Rescue Committee, which provides lifesaving care and support to millions of Syrians in the Middle East and in the United States, we asked American children what they’d want to say to Syrian children:

Mandela Hoffman, 8 years old

I hear from my parents that there is a big war in your country. A war that has been going on since you and I were two years old. It must be really scary. I know many refugee kids in Boise. I even played soccer with some kids from your country . I hope maybe one day soon you will be able to come to my school and play soccer with me and my friends. You would really like it here and I know my friends would like you too.

Love, Mandela

Zola Pierce Heartman, 9 years old

Soren Pierce Heartman, 12

We hope you are safe. If you’re not I hope you are safe soon. We welcome you to Idaho and to everywhere that is safe for you. You will be safe soon and we hope it is sooner than you think. We want you to feel and loved everywhere you go. We hope we can help you get through this.

Love, a friend in Idaho

Damia Pierce-Murphy, 17 years old

My name is Damia and I am an 11th grade student living in Idaho. I am writing this letter to you in response to the current refugee crisis in Syria. I want you to know that there are people out in the world who care about you.

Some people choose to ignore problems in other countries, but I am not one of those people; I will not sit idly by while you suffer, waiting for someone to come and help. I want to do my part in helping those in danger.

Unfortunately not everyone in America is so opened-minded, but fear not: we welcome you with open arms and open hearts into our country of refuge and opportunity.

I hope that you will maintain your faith in the chance for a better life—one in which you will not be afraid to cross the streets or leave your house.

Just know that there are many people who care about what happens to you. You deserve every opportunity; you deserve to grow up in a community in which you thrive. You deserve just as much as everyone else.

I know that things are difficult right now, but know that circumstances can improve…keep your head up high. You are not alone and you are deeply cared for by those not suffering from ignorance. Be brave and stay strong.

Sincerely, Damia

Jordyn Lowe, 12 years old

My name is Jordyn. I am writing this so that you can get a message of hope, something that will help you pull through this siutation. Just be the strongest, most powerful person that you can be and you can and will pull through. I really hope that this message finds a place in your heart, and gives you the motivation to get through this.

You got this!

Dracyn Lowe, 8 years old

My name is Dracyn. I am writing this letter because I want you to be strong. And hope you get through this all right. And I think it is wrong for our countries to be in war. You can get through this strongly.


William Green

My name is William. What is your name? What town do you live in? Is it scary where you live? Do you like school?

I live in Boise, Idaho. Do you like playing any sports? I like to play basketball and football. I have sister named Olivia. Do you have any siblings?

Is it safe where you live? I hope you feel safe. How old are you? Do you live in a good house? I hope you live in a good house.

Do you want to come to America? I hope the best for you and your family.

From, William

Giada Ramos, 9 years old

Alina Walsh, 13 years old

All photos taken by Jonathan McBride for the IRC

Refugee crisis in Europe and Middle East: How the IRC helps

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping people to survive, recover and reclaim control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC has works in over 40 countries and in 28 resettlement offices across the United States. Learn more about the IRC’s response to the refugee crisis and how you can help.

Find more refugee voices in the IRC’s Uprooted publication on Medium.

Follow the IRC on Twitter and Facebook and Medium


Produced by the International Rescue Committee, “Uprooted” keeps the spotlight on the individual human beings behind the tragic numbers of the refugee crisis.

Jonathan McBride

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Produced by the International Rescue Committee, “Uprooted” keeps the spotlight on the individual human beings behind the tragic numbers of the refugee crisis.

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