The Neighborhood Storyteller

United Arab Emirates
50 mins


For the girls at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, marriage may become a reality by the age of 14 or 15. But for 28-year-old Asmaa, mother of four, that doesn’t mean that girls and women have to stop dreaming or leave behind the pleasure of reading. When Asmaa, who married at 16 before being forced to flee a war-torn Syria with her young family, starts a reading group for her neighborhood’s teenage girls, many of whom are reserved. Through reading aloud, drawing and group activities, the girls open up about life at camp, the trauma of war and their dreams for the future. In this touching film by Alejandra Alcala, the girls’ confidence grows and imagination blossoms as they reflect on their pasts and dream of a hopeful future.

World Premiere

Production Team

Alejandra Alcala

Film Contact

Festival Screenings

Featured in the 2022 Mountainfilm Festival.

Take Action

Do you feel inspired, amazed and moved to act?

If you would like to learn more or to take action, please follow these links to see what our partner organizations are doing.

Let's help create a better world.

We Love Reading

We Love Reading inspires children to read for fun through our research-backed read-aloud program, training local volunteers to read to children in their neighborhoods. Changing mindsets through reading to create change makers.

Learn More about We Love Reading