COVID-19 may be preventing us from connecting with the ones we love the way we want to, but it has allowed us to appreciate and treasure each other that much more. This World Friendship Day, we asked Turkish, Syrian and Yemenis children in 5 different cities to connect with their best friend by sending them a drawing or letter.

Here is what they said.

Omar’s letter:

“My lovely friend,

Hello, how are you? I haven’t seen you for two months. How is your family?  Which places did you go to?  What did you do during the holidays? I am reading Qur’an and attending some courses. I watch TV and played with my sibling during the holidays. I missed you so much. You have been my best friend. I learned Turkish from you. You always helped me with classes at school. You are a very good person. Thank you for being my friend.

Your friend,
Ömer

 

Arda’s letter:

“My dear friend,

I’m so happy that I met such a person like you. You are a very good friend and you will be my friend forever. I wouldn’t know the real meaning of friendship without you. I love you most for this. I am proud of you so much that I don’t even need another friend. Because you have been my best friend. Always remember that I love you so much because I won’t forget you.

Your dear friend.”

Zeyneb’s letter:

“Dear sister,
Even if we weren’t born in the same territories, we don’t speak the same language, even if our skin colours are not the same…
We smile together under the same sky and the same sun with our eyes full of love.
With the most strong chord that bound us to each other, love and friendship.
I love you my friend, my sister
With love,
Zeyneb”

 

Enas’ letter:

“Friends are a gift from God.
There are two kinds of friends. A good friend and a bad friend. The poorest person is the one who doesn’t have any friends.
Roses die, irons can be broken but friendships never die and get broken. Finding the right friend with morals is important for my future.
My friend, I hope my words get to you. You were my best friend to me but if there were no separation, I wouldn’t stop my friendship with you. You were the only friend who is noble and with whom I don’t want to separate. Some people say best friends are those who stay apart so that they can keep their friendship.
I love you, my dear friend.
Enas”

Text on the drawing reads: A person who has no friend is a poor person (top left). The real friendships are like stars, they are only visible when there is darkness (top right). Roses, tulips and all the other flowers die eventually. Iron and steel get broken but stay strong. Friendships never die or get broken (bottom left). Friendship doesn’t have to be about being close to each other, the important thing is hearts being close to each other (bottom right). 

 

Children across Turkey – some wearing a Syrian flag and others a Turkish flag, live happily together in while a migratory bird brings them balloons. (Drawing: Şuğra)

Adnen’s letter:

“My dear friend Şuğra,

I love you so much. I am giving you a present at this time. We spend a great time together.
You are a sibling to me.”

The text on the drawing reads: “My friend, I love you, my dearest friend.” (Drawing: Adnen)

Letters written by Ahmed (L) and Efe (R) about the story of their friendship. (Photos: Ahmed, Efe )

Ahmed’s letter:

“To my dear friend,

I love you very much. I’m having so much fun when I’m playing and talking with you. As our ancestors say, ‘tell me about your friend and let me tell you who you are’. When I first met you, I hit your head with a ball. We used to fight but always make peace in the end. We always sat together since our first year at school. Our teacher would sometimes be angry at us, but we never got angry with each other. We were in the same classroom for 4 years, my dear friend Efe. I am so happy that we are friends.

Ahmed”

Efe’s letter:

“Hello Ahmet,

Today, I am writing a letter to the person with whom I became friends after starting to live in a different city and neighbourhood. I mean, to you 😊.

Do you remember? Our friendship started after the football you were playing with hit my head 😊 Later we always ran after that football together with you. We also took our new friends with us. In our first year at school, we always sat together and shared our food. I even came to your house one night and we jumped on the bed until we get tired 😊.

We were getting along with each other so well. Maybe we understood each other better as we both came to a new city and atmosphere. I taught you folk dances and you taught me the soldier game. We still play when we are together. To whomever I told about the game, they liked it.

In the game, everyone would hold their own hand. The one starting the game would sing the song ‘’Soldiers eat tomatoes, whom they want to shoot’’ Whoever is there when the song ends would choose someone and touch another one. The game used to go on until everyone is dismissed. Close friends could give life to each other. We always gave life to each other and tried to stay in the game.
The fourth grade has ended. We will start at secondary school. You will go to imam hatip secondary school and I will go to another one.

Maybe our schools are separated now, but we keep giving life to each other and staying in the game. Because we are getting along with each other so well. I’m happy that we met. You are a great friend. I didn’t know that a football hitting my head would let me meet my best friend. I hope we will play more football games in which we run after the same football with you. Take care of yourself. If you can’t, my all lives are yours, you know it! Goodbye…

Your best friend, Efe “


Two children, holding Syrian and Turkish flags, join hands while larger Turkish (left) and Syrian (right) flags are seen in this drawing. (Drawing: Emine)

Emine’s letter:

“Hi,
I hope you are fine. While writing this letter, I want to tell you that I miss you so much. You are not a foreigner but siblings to us. One doesn’t need to share the same blood tie to be siblings. Love is a feeling that doesn’t require a kindred ship or being born from the same mother and father. Friendship is so important. Please take care.
Goodbye.”

Letter written by Mohammed in Turkish in an address to Emine is shown in this photo. (Photos: Mohammed)

Mohammed’s letter:

“Hi Emine,
First of all, I want you to know how happy I become while reading your letter. I also miss you so much. You are also our brothers and sisters. We love you so much. We are so happy to be with you. Please also take care,
Cheers”

Two stick girls are standing next to a building, label as “school” in Turkish in this drawing, accompanied by a heart-shaped eyes emoji on the right side. (Drawing: Rüyanaz)

Rüyanaz’s letter:

“My dear friend Lima,
I love you so much. Schools were closed. I missed you and my teacher very much. We used to play games and spend good time together. I hope coronavirus goes away and w ego back to our school. I love you my dear friend Lima. Take care of yourself. Kisses, hope to see you soon.
Goodbye.”

Two girls holding flowers standing next to an apple tree while the sun is shining, birds fly by and a turtle wanders around flowers. (Drawing: Lima)

Lima’s letter:

“Rüyanaz,
I love you so much. You are my best friend at school.
I loved you when I first saw you. I missed you, my school, my teacher and my friends so much.
I hope coronavirus goes away and we go back to our school.”

Two girls are hugging each other in this drawing marked with the painter’s name; Meysem at the bottom. (Drawing: Meysem)

Meysem’s letter:

“I am writing a letter to Hatice with my all feelings.
To my most beautiful, sweetest and honest friend.
You are my relative and sister in humanity.
I write all these words by being faithful to the beautiful says we spent together and our love.
My friend Hatice, I want to tell you that you are so important to me.
My papers are beautiful when they are filled with your name. We are friends forever.”


Two girls, sitting close to each other on a tree branch, watch birds fly by. (Drawing: Elif)

Elif’s letter:

“Dear Syrian friend,
First of all, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Elif Nur. I really love reading books and spending time with my friends. We may face some changes in our lives but this is the rule of life. We had experienced malice called COVID-19 and that led us to be separated from each other. However, I think friendship is about feeling that love in our hearts even if there is a distance between us. Please don’t forget this! Good and peaceful days will come one day for sure. I am hoping to see you in this beautiful and peaceful times.
Your loving friend,
Elif”


Turkish Red Crescent and IFRC are helping to normalize the lives of many refugees and host communities, including children, in Turkey. These children benefit from the Turkish Red Crescent Community Centres, funded by European Union Trust Fund MADAD, and some receive support from the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), funded by the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

This article covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.