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I will draw strength from my children and the generations being destroyed.



Release Date



50 min.

Production Team 

Directed By
Produced By & 2nd Camera
Director of Photography
Associate Producer
Original Score
Location Audio Mixer
Simultaneous Translator
Still Photography

Presented by 

Presented by 


Made Possible With the Support of 

The film was amazing – there were so many stories interwoven together to tell this larger story. I love how reading became the conceptual tie but it was really about the joining of these different lives and making things better for people. Very heartwarming and so inspiring. The film is also visually beautiful.
— Adrienne Pao, Director of Academy of Art University, SF.


War tragically pushed Asmaa out of her home country, Syria, where her destiny had been written as a wife and mother with only 16 years of age. Asmaa rebuilt her adult identity as the neighborhood storyteller and began using reading aloud to children for fun as a bridge to tackle critical issues in her new community at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
Seven years later, with Asmaa’s first born daughter reaching adolescence, a flashback of her education deprived past emerges and inspires her to embark on a new read aloud project to empower teenage girls to build a future of opportunities she never had. Despite her complex living situation as a refugee and the community’s conservative mindset, Asmaa is determined to raise a conscious generation of successful women.
The Neighborhood Storyteller is a feature film documentary that explores human resilience, the transition from child to adult and one's capacity to turn hardships into an opportunity for self growth. 

Film Festival Awards


Film's impact goal

Trained by Jordanian nonprofit, We Love Reading, Asmaa uses the skills she learned, her creativity and resourcefulness to embark on reading-aloud community projects that contribute to building a conscious generation of strong and empowered women. 
The Big Heart Foundation, HOME Storytellers, and We Love Reading have partnered to create a film that highlights how agency and trust to lead community reading-aloud circles to children in their native language for fun is enhancing psycho-social wellbeing, providing education and creating change-makers in refugee communities.
The Neighborhood Storyteller's impact campaign aims to enable 1 million more Asmaa's in the world by forging partnerships with organizations around the world that can use the film to inspire and unleash the potential of women and girls in vulnerable situations to act creatively for themselves and their communities.
Watch trailer

Interested in hosting a screening?

We have prepared a screening toolkit and guide for anyone interested in hosting a screening within their community. For more information visit The Neighborhood Storytellers film's website where you will be able to fill out a form and download the guide.
Host a Screening

The Issue

Many refugee camps struggle to provide proper education systems because of safety concerns, practicality, cost, sustainability, and lack of qualified personnel. As a result, children are not in school, sometimes for years at a time. Even in cases where there is a school, it is often unsustainable, and girls often don’t participate. Moreover, there is a collective sense or mindset of “needing others to help you” suggesting a lack of confidence and motivation that prevents people from believing they own the power to improve their own situation. The lack of confidence and motivation can also be a result of insufficient knowledge or experience. 

Take Action

Wars, economic inequity, earthquakes, climate change and other crises continue to force people displacement with no end in sight.  In the middle of all this tremendous convolution we find remarkable stories of refugee women who thrive under inimaginable circumstances. They become a source of hope, inspiration and a compass to guide us through the storm. These stories need to be widely heard and used to spark conversations that lead to the scaling of grassroots models to transform crises into opportunities for development. 
The impact campaign provides the film to organizations working to empower women and girls in vulnerable situations and/or refugees as an emotionally engaging tool that humanizes the problems they are working to solve, sparks dialogue that effectively communicates their vision and leads to action that can amplify the scale and impact of their programs. Through film screenings followed by panel discussions or Q&A's, partner organizations using this package are encouraged to customize the post-film discussion and call to action in a way that serves their needs and objectives.

Together we can multiply the impact. There are many ways you can get involved. 

About Our 


The Big Heart Foundation
We Love Reading
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) strives to not only respond to humanitarian crises but to also work on developing projects which support vulnerable populations and empower people to become advocates and supporters of their communities. Asma’s story encapsulates the essence of the work we do.

Time Frame 

ROI Ratio

$1 to $4
We Love Reading (WLR) is a Jordanian nonprofit organization that fosters the love of reading for pleasure among children. Their initiative trains local men, women, and youth to hold regular read-aloud sessions for children in public spaces in their neighborhoods. 
The We Love Reading program is designed to help communities develop ownership over their circumstances by training local volunteers to become WLR Reading Ambassadors. The positive impact of this practice has been reflected on both the children being read to as well as the adults doing the reading. It is empowering people to overcome traumas, regain confidence, identity and courage, foster social responsibility and civic engagement, and create change on a community level. Such a simple, sustainable, and scalable practice, that shows people that they are capable of doing things on their own, should be fostered around the world to empower more refugees to become changemakers in their own communities.
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