Amplify

Igniting a Love of Reading Among Child Refugees

Open a Book, Spark an Imagination

Taghyeer is an organization in Jordan that sparks a love of reading among children, promoting learning and healing along the way.

The idea came from Founder Rana Dajani who started reading aloud to children weekly in her own neighborhood after noting that there was no real culture of reading among her children or their friends. One by one, Rana began to train other women to do the same, and before long, they formed the organization Taghyeer—a community-based intervention that steadily trains volunteers. 

Taghyeer sponsors reading circles for children in Jordan and is expanding its efforts into refugee camps.

When the Syrian war broke out, and refugees began to stream into Jordan seeking safety in camps along the border, Rana and her team began training reading volunteers in the Zaatari camp—recognizing the trauma these families had endured and the limited formal schooling opportunities available in camps. 

But with millions of refugees flooding out of Syria (Zaatari’s camp is now considered the second largest city in Jordan), and even more across the Arab world, their model needed a redesign. Taghyeer responded to Amplify’s Refugee Education Challenge, proposing a set of tools to help refugee women and men build a network of informal learning hubs around the camps to spark a love of reading among displaced children. 

The Zaatari refugee camp is vast, and now the second largest city in Jordan.

We Love Reading has trained 70 reading ambassadors, who read to more than 1,000 children each week across three Jordanian refugee camps.

Half of the 50 million displaced people worldwide are children, and research shows that the traumatic experiences of many refugees can affect their health in wide-ranging ways that last a lifetime, including social anxiety, depression, addiction, cardiovascular disease and more. In a study by neuroscientists at Brown University, We Love Reading’s intervention was shown to positively impact children’s cognitive function and ability to regulate their emotions and mental health, particularly relating to anxiety and anger management.

Taghyeer trains reading volunteers to help kids develop a love of books and learning.

IDEO.org’s design team joined Taghyeer in Jordan in 2015 to help adapt and scale the We Love Reading program as a locally-fueled movement. Inspired by Taghyeer’s early successes and the stories we heard from Syrian refugees in Zaatari, IDEO​.org designed a brand, a suite of training tools, a service model, and a partnership strategy that now allows Taghyeer to deploy their intervention quickly through local partnerships with organizations working in any refugee setting. To help Taghyeer track progress, we also designed an SMS-based monitoring system to track their impact and share it with volunteers.

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