By: Sabrina Page, 2017 UNA-USA Social Good Summit Blogger Fellow
Meet Muzoon Almellehan. Youngest Goodwill Ambassador. Advocate. Educator. Goal keeper. Syrian refugee.
Muzoon fled Syria and lived in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. The only belongings she took? School books she said.
“Even as a child, I knew that education was the key to my future, so when I fled Syria, the only belongings I took with me were my school books,” said Muzoon. “As a refugee, I saw what happens when children are forced into early marriage or manual labor – they lose out on education and they lose out on possibilities for the future. That’s why I am proud to be working with UNICEF to help give these children a voice and to get them into school.”
Muzoon spoke to the crowd at the 2017 Social Good Summit about her experiences as a refugee and what lead her to become an advocate for equal and quality education. While in the refugee camp, education was not offered on a available or consistent basis. She then decided to make it her mission to advocate for education among the refugee population, as not providing it is the root of many problems. I think everyone in the room and on this planet could agree if we don’t step up and advocate, if we don’t use our voices like Muzoon, not providing education to these refugee children will be our biggest downfall as a world.
UNICEF states “an estimated 25 million children of primary and secondary school are out of school in conflict zones." Muzoon’s goal? To “promote understanding of the challenges children affected and uprooted by conflict face in accessing education."
During the Social Good Summit, Muzoon told the audience and listeners everywhere that she never forgot and will never forget the children she left behind in that refugee camp. She reminded us we are all human with the same exact emotions. Even during her 18 months in the refugee camp, she reminded herself to not give up. Even during her most trying times, she used it as fuel to advocate for education. She emphasized on solidarity and standing together in a world that is being told to stand apart. Her words were powerful. Thought provoking. Inspiring.
According to UNICEF, “Education in emergencies is severely underfunded. Since 2010, less than 2 per cent of humanitarian funding has been spent on education. $8.5 billion are needed annually to close this gap."
It is during times like these that people like Muzoon are a ray of light in a very dark place. World changers. Peace makers. Goal keepers. These are the people of Syria.