For some, receiving a handwritten letter might seem like a luxury of the past, but for many who are isolated and without technology, it is a vital link to staying connected with the community. Feelings of loneliness only amplify during times such as what we are experiencing with the current coronavirus pandemic, as the mental health challenges associated with physical distancing are often overlooked.
As a calligrapher, I have found myself in a privileged position, where I have the resources and abilities to create beautiful cards and wax-sealed letters that someone would hopefully love to receive. I thought about how I could best contribute and after doing some Google searching, found an organization called Connected AU, whose mission it is to help people stay visible and valued. One of their initiatives is The Letterbox Project, which provides a safe platform to source and deliver handwritten letters across Australia. The focus is on senior Australians, people with disabilities, chronic health conditions and people living alone. It is open for anybody to join – you, your children, school or community group.
After applying to join the program, I was allocated to a recipient whose name is Betty. Betty lives in an aged care home in Queensland, which has been in lockdown for some time. The staff at her home said that she would love any type of letter. With this in mind, I dipped my ink and started writing to Betty about Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, the impacts of COVID-19 on my daily life and business, the things I used to take for granted in pre-coronavirus times, such as breathing in fresh air without wearing a mask, attending large celebrations, going on road trips, amongst others. I asked her about her daily life and that I hoped she would be able to see her family soon.
I've shared some snippets of my finished letter above. My calligraphy flourished bird represents freedom and a sense of hope. I hope my creation inspires you to connect with your friends, loved ones and maybe even a stranger-in-need as it is now more important than ever. As the Letterbox Project puts it so well, “those of use who are lucky to be healthy, and surrounded by our families, can reach out and gift our time to someone whose experience may be more challenging”.
ENVELOPES, BLANK CARDS & TEMPLATES
I love seeing all the creative projects that you come up with! Feel free to send them via email, social media, or tag me (@fionaariva on Instagram)