Film poster for “THE NEIGHBORHOOD STORYTELLER”. A woman looks to the side, a solemn look on her face.
Film poster for “THE NEIGHBORHOOD STORYTELLER”. A woman looks to the side, a solemn look on her face.
A Syrian refugee mother in Jordan’s Zaatari Camp empowers young girls through transformative reading circles, igniting hope and change


Regular price $129.00

WOMEN IN FILM AWARD - Mountainfilm | TOM LANTOS BEST HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD - Women Voices Now Film Festival | BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE DOCUMENTARY - International Film Festival The Hague

Women Empowerment & Leadership • Refugee Experiences • Teen Literacy • Community Activism • Motherhood • Self-discovery • Collective Healing • Breaking Societal Norms • Grassroots Movements   Cultural Gender Dynamics

Date of Completion: 2021 | Run Time: 50 minutes​​ | Language: Arabic with English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript & Study Guide | Director/Co-Editor: Alejandra Alcala  | Producer/Second Camera: Francisco Alcala | Director of Photography/Co-Editor: Alex Garcia | Original Score: Bernardo Castro | Associate Producer: Ghufran Abudayyeh | Audio Mixer: Essa Makhadmeh

THE NEIGHBORHOOD STORYTELLER unfolds the inspiring journey of Asmaa Rashed, a young Syrian mother turned change-maker in Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp. Denied education in her youth and thrust into the challenges of displacement and motherhood, Asmaa discovers her strength and purpose through the We Love Reading program. Embracing the art of reading aloud, she establishes vibrant reading circles, transforming a humble act into a powerful tool for social change. As her own daughter enters adolescence, Asmaa is reminded of her educational deprivation, fueling her resolve to empower the next generation of girls. She launches a project aimed at teenage girls, using literature as a catalyst to expand their horizons, nurture self-worth, and inspire them to envision a future filled with opportunities. Her efforts ripple through the community, challenging traditional norms and igniting a collective quest for knowledge, resilience, and empowerment. THE NEIGHBORHOOD STORYTELLER is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the transformative power of education and community activism in the face of adversity.

Sharjah-based TBHF’s debut film The Neighbourhood Storyteller wins 5 international awards | Gulf News

Laura Moeller | High school English teacher in Pittsburgh, PA
“Hello Asamaa, I am a high school English teacher in Pittsburgh, PA. While watching your film, I was moved by your dedication to learning and your willingness to support the young females in your community. You have provided hope and happiness to your students while also inspiring them to think of the lives they can lead outside of the refuge camp. I found it touching to hear that your mother and husband shared similar passions for education and freedom. Thank you for reminding us that we should not take our schooling for granted, but instead treasure reading and discussion as ways we learn about ourselves and others.”

“Hi! Your documentary was very heartwarming and inspiring. It was eye-opening and encouraged me further to extend my knowledge about refugees and their lives. Seeing how you find light within a difficult experience is something so powerful. I also appreciate how much you do to build confidence in young women. I wish that I had a woman as inspiring and confident as you in my life. Thank you for such an incredible documentary!”

“This film was very inspirational and I'm so glad that we were able to have the opportunity to watch. Although I live in the US now, my family is from Syria and this story was very meaningful to me. I love reading and thinking that it is such an important and worthwhile skill to have. I'm so glad that other girls my same age are getting to experience that same joy. Thank you so much for all that you're doing. You're impacting not only those you meet in real life, but those with who you share your story! “

“In this world, there is a good and evil side. Someone like me, I am very fortunate that I grew up in a nice area with good surroundings. However, all of us don't get to experience that. During times of evil, we forget that there is goodness in the world. What you do is remind us that there is good in the world no matter how rough the time can be. You inspire a lot of people every day to keep finding good in the world especially when times are bad. Thank you for everything you do.”

“The film was very powerful and inspiring. It was really powerful to focus on a story of hope and resilience in the context of a terrible conflict rather than just focusing on the death and destruction. It was great to see the sense of community that the reading group created.”

“It’s inspiring to see someone build a supportive community and provide opportunities for young girls to enjoy learning. It would be a dream to be half as good of a role model."

Luke McDonough
“The film was deeply impactful. It was really powerful to see the impact a single person can make on the education of their community and truly make progress. Also, the friendship that all the girls found in the group was really powerful as well, showing how reading and storytelling can truly be a unifying force in our society even in the most difficult times. This is a film that everyone needs to see.”

"I feel empowered as a woman after watching the film and I feel that you have helped us tremendously. Also, I feel happy that you helped so many young girls who are similar to my age become more educated. I feel that you have raised your voice for the benefit of us all, and I am forever grateful."