PERREAULT Magazine NOV | DEC 2016 - Page 26

The Malala of Syria:

Muzoon Almellehan

Like 65.3 million others forcibly displaced by conflict and natural disaster, Muzoon is a refugee. She and her family were forced to flee Syria in 2013, and crossed the Jordanian border to settle in Za'atari, one of the largest refugee camps in the world.

Since advocating for girls' education at the camp in Jordan and striking up a friendship with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai, she has become a voice for millions of other young Syrians who are hungry for knowledge but lack access.

Muzoon was very sad to leave her country, and she was afraid she would lose her education and access to education as a result of being a refugee. She believed, as does Malala, that if she lost her education, she would have no future. Along with the loss of education, there is a growing threat of child marriage at the refugee camps- in order to secure their children’s future, parents are turning to child marriage as an answer to their future security and to protect them from the sexual violence that happens within the camps.

Muzoon went from door-to-door and tent-to-tent in the camp, telling parents that enrolling their daughters in school was the only way to truly secure a stable future. Thanks to her grassroots advocacy efforts, Muzoon has been dubbed the "Malala of Syria," after her friend.