Me and You

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Me and You

Letter and Art Exchange between Syrian Refugee Children and American CHildren

Authored by Soulaf Abas
Designed by M.C. McNellis
Edition: 1

This book documents an exchange of letters and artwork between children in Terre Haute, Indiana and Syrian refugee children in Amman, Jordan. It is a part of an art initiative called Seen for Syria which is an art therapy/education program initiated for the Syrian refugee children in Jordan.

As an artist and an art educator, I truly believe that working with the Syrian children is the first step towards rebuilding our home - Syria- when the war is over. To do that, I decided to put together both my skills and my passion for the Syrian cause; that is how Seen for Syria began.

I also wanted to use my artwork (which mainly focuses on the Syrian crisis) and my teaching skills to raise awareness about what's happening in Syria here in my community: That is how this book started.

In February 2014, I volunteered to teach at Ryves Hall: A youth center that helps disadvantaged children in the Terre Haute, Indiana. These children don't have it easy by any means. They suffer from issues related to poverty, parents' substance abuse, dysfunctional family relations, and more. I thought that these children could relate to what's happening to the Syrian children, and sure enough they did. I showed them pictures of Syria before and after the war. I showed them images of the refugee camps and images of the Syrian refugees living conditions. We also did many painting projects together. The children's' response emotional and empathetic: They asked questions, they were very upset about what they saw. They asked how they could help and that's how the letter and art exchange started

When I went to Jordan during the summer of 2014 and delivered the letter and artwork the response of the Syrian children was equally heartwarming. They were grateful and happy, and a bit surprised that anyone knew about them or cared enough to do something for them.

The idea behind this book is simple: Enable children in two different places in the world, who come from totally different cultures but have similar challenges and difficulties their lives, to communicate with one another and see what happens. What happened is a book that embodies pure joy and hope. Children on the opposite sides of the world made a difference when diplomats fail to do so every day. They created hope where politics create chaos. They made friends when war only makes enemies.

I am honored to have been their messenger.

Publication Date:
1503356043 / 9781503356047
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8" x 10"
Full Color
Related Categories:
Art / Individual Artists / General

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