Support Us

2022 Fellows

Blossom Hill is thrilled to announce our 2022 Class of Fellows! This year, five new Fellows are joining our Fellowship program with innovative initiatives to make breakthroughs for refugee children affected by conflict and war. These initiatives will put refugee children and youth on the path to success and a better future.

BH Fellow 2022
Amin Marei (Egypt)

As a researcher and a practitioner in the fields of early childhood development and education in conflict and post-conflict settings, Amin witnessed the importance of offering displaced and Syrian refugee children a nurturing developmental environment that their caregivers and teachers facilitate. That's when he decided to launch Zeedu, an early childhood development initiative that offers displaced Syrian parents and caregivers in Egypt an opportunity to provide their children (ages 0-4 years) personalized learning experiences, track their development, and support their growth and wellbeing. As a Blossom Hill Fellow, Amin will focus on how to offer parents and caregivers the necessary support to scaffold their children's learning and development.

BH Fellow 2022
Sultana Amani (Afghanistan)

Sultana initally joined Blossom Hill as a student of our Fellows Ahmad Rostami and Furogh Mirdad's Entrepreneurship program in Kabul. In a society where women and young girls were never supported to attend school and faced many obstacles to their education including violence, underage or forced marriage to alleviate economic problems or resolve family disputes (known as baad), Sultana was very fortunate. She was raised by educated parents who believe that women are key to the future of their communities and their countries. She enrolled in Kabul University to further her business education and had a very busy life. She worked for a USAID project during the day, took night classes, and in her spare time started her own social venture addressing “period poverty” -- a hidden public health crisis affecting girls and women globally. In this venture, Sultana developed a natural, reusable sanitary pad, trained women producers and conducted market and user studies. She had just finished her sophomore year and received a contract from UNICEF for the pads when the Afghan government collapsed in August 2021. Her life as she knew it came to a sudden halt. Faced with threats to their lives, Sultana and her family were given 30 minutes to pack a small bag each and race to the airport for evacuation to America.

Today Sultana lives in a dramatically different culture and misses university life, But her thoughts remain with the Afghan girls and women left behind. As a Blossom Hill Fellow, Sultana will resume her women-centric social venture this year through virtual management in order to ensure girls continue to receive safe, comfortable and environmentally-friendly pads and the Afghan women who make the pads keep their children fed and safe.

BH Fellow 2022
Aziza and Mursal Akrami (Afghanistan)

When Mursal was three years old, she was severely infected with diarrhea and also suffered from malnutrition. Her mother who grew up in a village did not know how to manage diarrhea at home. At the same time, they were going through a time when the war in Afghanistan was raging and there was no clinic, doctor, or health center available near their region. Her mother lost hope for any recovery. Accidentally, one night when Mursal was very sick and her mother was asleep, she drank a bottle of water that was near her bed. The next day, her mother noticed the bottle was empty and Mursal looked better. She continued giving her more water and feeding her soup, and with time, she recovered from diarrhea. She called this a miracle that saved Mursal's life.

But not every child is that lucky. When Mursal worked as a coordinator and Aziza as a translator for foreign doctors in a number of out-patient health clinics, they discovered that many patients were children suffering from malnutrition, diarrhea, fever, and very primary children's diseases. Most of the clinics were located in poor-residential regions of Kabul province, and the majority of the children's parents were very poor and internally displaced. They were unable to afford a doctor's visit or medicine and health centers were unavailable for children. In addition, the parents had little knowledge of home remedies, just like Mursal's mother. This experience solidified Mursal's and Aziza's vision to create a special health center for children to save their lives from treatable diseases. As Blossom Hill Fellows, this will be their first chance to pursue this goal and embrace their vision that a healthy child builds a healthy society.

BH Fellow 2022
Maryam Montague (Morocco)

Born in Egypt to an Iranian mother, Maryam was personally familiar with many of the problems that teen girls faced. Mother to a teen girl herself, she wanted to develop a feminist leadership program that would help marginalized teen girls better advocate for themselves and the rights of all girls. To address the many challenges that girls face during adolescence, Maryam founded Project Soar. Project Soar’s award-winning 25 workshop curriculum in Arabic helps keep vulnerable teen girls in school and protects them from underage marriage. After scaling the Soar Solution to reach nearly 4,000 girls in Morocco, Maryam wondered how the Soar solution could be modified for girls in very challenging situations - war, displacement, migration, etc. In 2021, the Soar Solution was adapted for girls in Northwest Syria. As a Blossom Hill Fellow, Maryam will scale her work to additional Syrian girls. The curriculum is designed specifically to increase the self-agency of Syrian girls who are internally displaced or marginalized and contributes to social cohesion between IDPs and host communities. As a Blossom Hill Fellow, Maryam will continue to enhance vulnerable Syrian girls’ chances for productive futures.

BH Fellow 2022
Alaa Al-Khalidi (Jordan)

Alaa is a native of Jordan and holds a degree in Physics. For the first three years of her career, she was a passionate teacher working in private schools. But when she found herself faced with a rigid school system that did not allow her the freedom to teach in more interactive ways that suited her students, she decided to leave her profession for the humanitarian sector. For the last ten years, Alaa has been working with children from refugee communities to help them achieve the best start in life. Over the years, she took on various responsibilities at different NGOs in Jordan -- from a family caseworker to a program coordinator implementing complex projects. Currently, she coordinates various programs at the Collateral Repair Project. As a Blossom Hill Fellow, Alaa will be coordinating the Sports for All Program and Fearless Girls.

Donate now to support refugee children

Donate now