Meet Six-Year-Old Haneen and Join Her Journey with 1001 Meals

The Syrian Child who Loves to Learn and Aspires to Become a Doctor

Hello, my name is Haneen. I am six years old and I was born in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan and live here with my family, including my two older sisters and two brothers. I’m in first grade and my favorite subject at school is English. When I grow up I want to be a doctor, that’s why I love studying, even in my free time.

Today, is an exciting day at school and I’m so glad you’re here to join me! My friends and I have just eaten our healthy school meals and are now going to watch a film and enjoy fun activities with 1001 Meals! Follow me!

Haneen (wearing a grey dress) stands in the middle of the line as her class arrives to participate in 1001 Meals activities.

Haneen and her classmates greeted by WFP team as they enter the makeshift classroom transformed into an inspiring space.

First, we met Mohammed and Aya who told us about the importance of the World Food Programme meal we just ate. It was so interesting to learn that healthy food is not only important to make us feel full and satisfied but also that it makes us think and learn better. Because I want to be a doctor when I grow up I will now always eat the fresh fruits and vegetables in my meal so I am smarter.  

Science explainer Aya explains to children the importance of healthy eating and the nutritious value of WFP Healthy Meal.

After that we met Ibrahim and he told us the story of Ibn al-Haytham, the scientist from one thousand years ago and his adventure in Egypt! Ibrahim showed us a few fun experiments about light. In one, he held up a mirror and turned on a green laser beam and showed us how light reflects. In another experiment, he filled a glass with water and put a straw in it. Look how the straw looks broken. That’s because light bends when it enters water!

Haneen fascinated to learn about how light bends during the straw experiment.

The next demonstration was looking through a magical cardboard box. Ibrahim showed my friends and I Albeit Almuzlim (the camera obscura) and how when we look through it, the image is flipped. He explained to us that light travels in straight lines and how our brains flip the image upside down so we can see the world right side-up.

Science explainer Ibrahim explains to Haneen’s first grade class how we see through using a camera obscura.

That looks fun! I want to try! Woah, I can see you upside down!"

Haneen enjoying looking through the camera obscura with her friends.

After the experiments about light and vision, it was time to turn the lights off. I sat on the floor mats next to my friends and watched the film about Ibn al-Haytham and how he discovered how we see. We enjoyed the film so much and were so excited with our first cinema experience... I would love to watch more films like this one!

Haneen watching the short film about Ibn al-Haytham with her friends.

When the film ended, the lights were turned back on. The door opened and guess who came in? Ibn al-Haytham! I was so excited, I went straight to the front of the line to say hello!

Haneen lines up to greet Ibn al-Haytham and get her book.

Ibn al-Haytham gave my classmates and I books so we can learn more about him and his discoveries about light and vision. I can’t wait to read this book and show it to my parents, brothers and sisters!

Haneen and friends cheering at the end of their 1001 Meals experience

This was such a fun day! I loved learning about light, seeing the experiments, watching the film and getting my own very first book! Now it’s time to go to my next class before heading home for lunch. I hope Mama made one of my favorite dishes: Mlukhiyeh or rice and peas.

Thank you for joining me at school today and I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Note: All facts mentioned about Haneen’s life and family as well as the events of the day included in the story are as they were relayed in Arabic to the 1001 Meals team by Haneen with her parents consent. Some artistic adaptation was used to narrate Haneen’s story.


About 1001 Meals:

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the award-winning 1001 Inventions organisation launched the 1001 Meals initiative to offer Syrian children in refugee camps access to healthy meals coupled with valuable learning opportunities to improve wellbeing.

Each 1001 Meals event combines fun educational experiences produced by 1001 Inventions along with WFP nutritious meals prepared by Syrian women working in WFP’s ‘Healthy Kitchens’.

Young adult refugees are being recruited and trained to support the delivery of 1001 Meals activities. The initiative aims to help build their capacity while providing them with economic opportunities and hope for a better future.

To support the initiative, download the ShareTheMeal app on your smartphone (select to join the “#1001Meals” Team) and with just a tap you can donate US$0.50 to "share the meal" with a child in need.

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