Pen pal friendship between London boy and Yemeni girl ‘humbling’, says charity

Six-year-old Apollo writing to pen pal Razan, age eight Credit: Save The Children/PA

A pen pal friendship between a six-year-old boy from London and an eight-year-old girl from Yemen has been described as “humbling” by a charity.

Apollo, from London, was put in contact with Razan, from Yemen, by Save The Children after he asked for donations to the charity instead of birthday presents.

The two have been pen pals since October 2019, and first bonded over their love of animals.

“I’m very worried that it’s not fair that we have everything we need and that children in Yemen don’t have anything,” Apollo said in a statement.

The friendship began when Apollo saw Razan’s story in a campaign run by Save The Children.

Born in the war-torn city of Hodeidah, Razan and her family were forced to flee their home during an airstrike. In the attack, shrapnel from a bomb seriously injured Razan’s eye.

Touched by her story, Apollo decided to write to Razan through the charity, asking: “Do you like animals too?”

Once Razan had recovered from her injuries in hospital, she replied: “I like black and white rabbits.”

George Graham, Save The Children’s children and armed conflict director, said: “The story of Apollo and Razan’s friendship is incredibly humbling.

“Despite their differences, separated by a vicious war and living half a world apart, they are united by their human connection.

“These children serve as a timely reminder to us all that kindness is a universal language.”

Credit: Save The Children/PA

Razan is still receiving support from the charity to help her deal with her experiences.

“I’m happy. I’m not going back to the hospital and I’m happy that I’m alive,” she said.

Mr Graham said: “At a time when healthcare in the UK has never been under more pressure, it is sobering to think about the catastrophic devastation that coronavirus could cause in a country like Yemen, whose health system has been decimated by war for five years.

“As Britain rightly focuses on halting the spread of the coronavirus here in the UK, we must not forget that we can still transform the lives of children like Razan.”