Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Imagining herself as the three-year-old Syrian boy who was drowned off the coast of Turkey, Nguyễn Thị Thu Trang wrote a letter from the child to himself when he reaches the age of 45.
The letter won the first prize in the 2016 International Letter Writing Competition for Young People held by the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
In her letter, Trang played the role of the late Aylan Kurdi - the drowned Syrian child washed up on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos earlier this year, as seen in the world-shaking photo on the tragedy of wars, conflicts and illegal immigration into Europe.
Her letter, which “was written from heaven” about a world without violence or discrimination, won the first prize in the contest at the national level in May in Việt Nam.
It was translated into French and English to be sent to the organising board of the 45th UPU International Letter Writing Contest based in Switzerland for the international round. Trang is a student in Nam Sách High School in the northern province of Hải Dương.
She is the second Vietnamese to become the contest’s first prize winner. The first was Hồ Thị Hiếu Hiền, a student from the central city of Đà Nẵng, who won the competition in 2010.
Trang is preparing to go to the award ceremony held in Turkey on October 1.The annual International Letter Writing Competition for Young People has been run at the national and international levels since 1971, drawing in millions of young people up to the age of 15 from all over the world.
The theme selected for the 2016 competition was: "Write a letter to your 45-year-old self."
Children around the world are warmly encouraged to give flight to their imagination while writing a letter to themselves in the future.
“Our view of the world tends to change as we grow older, with the risk that the older person forgets or abandons the concerns and dreams of their younger self. The past becomes another country whose language we no longer speak,” as written on the website of the UPU.
Young people and children under 15 make up a quarter of the world’s population, yet their voices are seldom heard. Perhaps this is because the 45-year-olds do not realise what important things they themselves once understood and how much of value young people have to say.
In this year’s competition, young writers are given the opportunity to reach across their own generation divide into the future. An important message can be sent before the language of youth is lost. — VNS