Mohammad Revives his Passion for Science with 1001 Meals

Experience of a young Syrian father with 1001 Meals at Azraq refugee camp

At 7:30 in the morning, Mohammad leaves his caravan home in Azraq refugee camp together with his eldest daughter Nisreen. His other three children are still not at school age. They stay at their modest home with their mother.

Mohammad is particularly happy this morning not only for he’s spending quality time with his daughter on their way to school, but also because he’s busy with a stimulating job this week -- a rare opportunity at the refugee camp. Mohammed has been recruited to support 1001 Meals, a programme run by the World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with 1001 Inventions to improve the wellbeing of refugee children. 

Arriving at school, Nisreen who is in first grade heads to her class. Mohammad proceeds to the makeshift classroom transformed by the 1001 Meals team to a fun event space where children enjoy film screening, hands-on workshops and science activities at the time of their daily World Food Programme (WFP) school meal.

Mohammad and members of the 1001 Meals team smile for a group photo.

Mohammad was always passionate about science; he has started studying engineering at university in his home country Syria. However, in 2013 he sadly had to quit his studies and left Syria to Jordan for safety.

Recognizing Mohammad’s passion for science and engineering, he was trained by the 1001 Meals team to deliver hands-on activities. At first, he was nervous about engaging with the children and presenting demonstrations by himself. However with training, motivation and encouragement coupled with observing 1001 Inventions science explainers in action, Mohammad built his confidence and soon, was ready to lead his first science demonstration.

With time, Mohammad’s confidence continued to grow and he enjoyed presenting the different experiments to the children. This is a key component of the 1001 Meals programme: to help Syrians living in refugee camps find employment, build their capacity and hone their skills. This supports their search for other job opportunities while helping build their self-confidence and inspire hope for a better future for themselves and their families. 

Mohammad enjoying simplifing scientific phenomena to the students at the Azraq refugee camp school.

At 12:00 in the afternoon Mohammed reunited with Nisreen to walk her back before he returns to school to prepare for the afternoon boys shift. Nisreen was exceptionally excited that day as her class had the opportunity to visit the 1001 Meals space where she experienced many fun activities. The six-year old girl was rushing so she could quickly show her mother the 1001 Inventions book she received and enjoy the story of Ibn al-Haytham with her sisters and little brother.

One of the days was particularly special because Mohammad’s three daughters visited him at 1001 Meals space.

Mohammad and Ra’fat are all smiles with Ibn al-Haytham and students after the end of one of the activity sessions.

Note: All facts mentioned about Mohammad’s life and family as well as the events of the day included in the story were relayed by Mohammed in Arabic to the 1001 Meals team. Some artistic adaptation was used to narrate the 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 1001 Meals, 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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About United Nations World Food Programme

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives worldwide, provide food assistance to more than 90 million people in 84 countries annually by delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In addition to their efforts in relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.

Since 1964, WFP has been present in Jordan working with the Jordanian government, as well as international and local organizations, to create economic and livelihood opportunities for food insecure and vulnerable communities.

WFP’s operations have also supported the government in providing food assistance for half a million Syrian refugees in camps and in the host community.  WFP has also been offering vocational training opportunities and on-the-job training to develop human capacities and improve employability for targeted vulnerable Jordanians and allow the opportunity for the current influx of Syrians to be self-sufficient.

 About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British based organization that creates international educational campaigns and engaging transmedia productions aiming to raise awareness of the contributions to innovation, technology and culture from the golden age of science in Muslim Civilisation.

1001 Inventions has engaged with over 400 million people across the globe working with a network of international partners, including UNESCO, National Geographic and leading academics to produce interactive exhibits, short films, live shows, books and classroom learning materials that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.