Letters of Hope - Joe to Shadi

Letters of Hope - Joe to Shadi

Publication info


Leading up to the five-year mark of the Syrian war, CARE invited a handful of former World War II refugees — original CARE Package recipients in 1940s Europe — to write letters of hope to Syrian refugee children. Some truly moving connections have emerged between people who, though separated by decades and distance, share so much.

Dear Shadi,

You may wonder why you are getting a letter from a stranger. The reason is that, although I am much older than you, we have had similar experiences.  We are both refugees, who were helped by CARE.  In my case, it was after the Second World War, when my family escaped communism in Germany.  You are from Syria, and your family had to escape because of the oppression and violence there.  There are three ideas that I would like to share with you:

You and your family are not alone.  There are many individuals and organizations like CARE that are concerned about you and want to help.  I do not remember all the things that were in the CARE packages we received, but I do remember that they were sent by a very kind lady in the U.S.
Do not give up on your dreams.  Right now, it may seem like you may never get to go to school to become a doctor.  But if keep working at it, it can happen.  I know, because I became a doctor.
Help the next generation.  When your life becomes normal again, and you are successful, please support wonderful organizations like CARE to help those in need.  When I was eight years old, receiving help from CARE, I made a promise to myself that if I was ever successful, that I would support this organization.  Now I am very grateful to have the opportunity to do that, and I hope that you will too.

That is all for now, my young friend.  Remember, don’t give up.


Joe Wernicke

Special Delivery: Letters of Hope to Syrian Refugees by CARE USA on Exposure