Dubai: If you could write a letter to your future self, what would you say?
A school group in the UAE, International Schools Partnership (ISP), is ‘Writing Letters for Tomorrow’ — a campaign encouraging students, teachers and parents to pen memoirs to be read in the future, so lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic are not lost.
Four schools in the UAE from ISP, which has 46 schools teaching multiple curricula to around 45,000 students in several countries, took part in the month-long campaign that ended on November 30.
‘Thread of hope’
“We live in a world forever changed by COVID-19 and one of the threads that continues to bind us together is that of hope. We have learned so much during this time and we want to ensure that the lessons of today are not forgotten. Through ‘Writing Letters for Tomorrow’ we have asked our families and staff to write letters for them to read again in the future, or to have their children read in the future, that share their experiences of being in a lockdown, and dealing with the pandemic,” said Bharat Mansukhani, regional managing director — Middle East, ISP.
The group, which owns and operates The Aquila School and Nibras International School in Dubai, as well as Aspen Heights British School and Reach British School in Abu Dhabi, had launched the campaign on November 1 with a video featuring famous Emirati actor Saoud Al Kaabi.
Remember the times
In the campaign, parents are being asked to write letters to their children, sharing lessons that are important for them to remember when they are older, or telling them a story about what happened during this time. Students are writing letters to their future self, reminding of how they coped with schools switching to distance learning and not being able to see their friends and teachers at school. The teachers are also participating in the campaign by writing letters to their students, sharing their experience and the resilience they have shown during the lockdown.
‘Writing can be a powerful tool’
“We know that writing can be a powerful tool that helps us to reflect and raise our self-awareness. So by writing these letters that are meant to highlight lessons learnt during this time, we are ultimately asking our community to write about their own experience and resilience. Then by sharing the letters, the community is able to come together and celebrate each other’s strength and courage. We want our communities to become stronger from the experience and celebrate how they overcame their struggles,” said Mansukhani.
“We’ve had a hundreds of letters come in so far. Each letter is filled with emotion. Some letters, especially those from parents, haven’t necessarily spoken about COVID-19 or the lockdown, but they are definitely providing some great words of wisdom and lessons for the future.”
ISP schools globally are now looking to launch this initiative, which could also be extended to the rest of the UAE.
Some of the letters:
‘The world had time to heal’
During lockdown I learnt so much and especially how to encourage others. No matter how rough the days were, I knew I had a lot to be grateful for.
I learnt more about myself, my friends, my family, the world and I learnt more to help me be a better teacher.
I found how strong I could be. I found not being able to leave my house and see people that I wanted to, very difficult but I tried to focus on the positive things. Having more time to call people and have zoom fun events like quizzes and bingo was awesome.
Calling friends all over the world to catch up was amazing, as I usually I don’t have time for that.
I enjoyed sorting out my apartment and being more creative with the space I live in.
I did lots of educational courses too and attended virtual conferences.
One of the best things about lockdown was how the world had time to heal. There was no litter, animals could roam free and feel safe too.
I had many opportunities to encourage and motivate people who were having bad days, cheering them up and laughing too.
During lockdown I set goals for myself and had more time to think about what makes me happy.
I am inspired to make the most of each day and have a happy life, helping others and being the best me I could be.
No matter how bad your day is, there will always be a sunset to end the day and give you hope that a new day will come tomorrow. A new opportunity to achieve, be kind, help and inspire others.
Never forget how important you are, everyone is special!
(Teacher, Aspen Heights British School)
‘We enjoyed every moment spent with you’
The pandemic is something unexpected and the whole world was not ready for it. Who would have thought that we would see a day that we will be stuck at home for almost three months? Wearing masks, gloves, no access to the play area, no eating outside, no playdates; it is all too much.
Learning online was a challenge but we admired how you have shown your resilience and have shown all your effort and enthusiasm despite the difficulty we faced. This allowed us to spend more time with you and realised all the little things that we have to be thankful for. We had breakfast together, did different exercises, cooked, painted, and enjoyed every moment spent with you.
Working from home was also challenging for us as the nature of both our work as sales managers require us to meet clients face to face. However, this did not stop us from working! This lockdown made us think of innovative ways to reach out to our clients while working from home. We held online events, set-up googles meetings online, and have utilized our time more efficiently.
If there is one thing we would like you to know in life, nothing is certain and change is permanent. We would like you to know that you have faced one of the most difficult times in the world and have been able to adjust yourself. The right attitude and willingness to learn and adapt to any situation is a life lesson you should keep and hopefully, you will be able to pass it to your children as well.
We love you and always be here for you no matter what.
Mommy & Daddy