I am Ziaul Haque from India, a freelance layout and graphics designer. I generally work with authors who wish to self-publish their works and I have been working with Julie Pratten on her various projects for some time. About a year ago she introduced me to the Heart ELT project and offered me various design and formatting work to create Heart books.
Heart ELT is doing a great service to humanity. In war torn areas, various organisations cater for the immediate humanitarian needs of the people living in a war zone and those who are displaced, stuck in transit or living in refugee camps by providing food, medical assistance and shelter. However, the long term effects of the war on the minds of young children has devastating effects. This has done irreparable damage to the social setup and created a generation of forgotten children. Projects like Heart ELT can help reduce the ill-effects of displacement by helping children learn in safe learning spaces and provide opportunities for them to connect with other children around the world.
I enjoy working on the A-Z of Hope project because it makes me feel connected to unfortunate children who have experienced terrible trauma since the start of this relentless civil war in Syria. It makes me feel like a global citizen and I feel very privileged to be a part of such a noble initiative. Sitting in my tiny office here in India, I feel proud to be associated with a person who strives to put humanity first and sets a shining example for others to follow.
Living in India and working on this project is challenging in a number of ways. Julie is based in England (and Turkey) and the time difference can be as much as 5 and a half hours. Most of the time Julie has to wake up very early and work late into the night to liaise with me. I often have to work well past midnight so we can meet deadlines and complete various tasks associated with Heart ELT. However, I feel really proud and happy when I see images of children with smiles on their faces with books and various learning materials that I have designed. Nothing feels more satisfying than seeing the spark in the eyes these children and the feeling that I made a tiny difference in their lives.
For me, the slogan ‘collaborate for change’ is the core of Heart ELT and the most appropriate part because it brings people together for change. We are all trying to come together as a team and collaborating to make the change happen in the most positive way possible in places where time itself seems to have stopped for these innocent young children.