Muzoon Rakan Almellehan
Muzoon Almellehan, age 19, is a Syrian refugee and education activist.
On 19th June 2017, Muzoon was appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the youngest Goodwill Ambassador that the organization has every appointed and the first refugee to hold the title. Muzoon joins UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Shakira, Katy Perry, Leo Messi, Novak Djokovic, Orlando Bloom and others who lend their powerful voices to support vulnerable children across the world.
Muzoon has been campaigning for children’s education in emergencies since she was forced to flee Syria in 2013 with her family. Muzoon started her campaign in Jordan, where she was living as a refugee in camps for three years, including 18 months in Za’atari. As part of a UNICEF-supported back-to-school campaign, she first advocated for more girls to go to school in August 2013 and went from tent to tent speaking with parents of children who were at risk of child marriage or early labor. Over the next two and a half years she became synonymous with standing up for the rights of children, particularly girls, to stay in or go back to school. She accompanied Malala on two visits to the camp.
Muzoon is currently completing her first year of A-levels in Newcastle, United Kingdom, where she has been resettled with her family. As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador she offers a powerful, credible, authentic voice on education in emergencies. She is also a No Lost Generation (NLG) campaign champion for UNICEF Middle East and North Africa.
Most recently, in April 2017, she travelled to Chad with UNICEF to meet refugee children forced to flee unspeakable violence. During the six-day visit, Muzoon saw the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency on children’s education, reminding her of her own experiences four years ago when she was uprooted by the Syria conflict. She made a strong connection with the children she met including a 16-year-old girl who was abducted by Boko Haram outside her school in Nigeria at the age of 13 and was drugged, exploited and abused for three years before fleeing to Chad. Muzoon also met children who are able to get an education for the first time, and community members who, like her once, are taking huge risks to get children into school. On the last day of the mission, Muzoon delivered an emotional speech at a university in N’Djamena to an audience of 300 female university students.