Millie's reading programs are designed to accompany the installation of Millie's Reading Corners to promote their active use by the community. Reading programs typically last for six months and meet for an hour every week (20 sessions total). Each program is led by a qualified refugee staff member who lives in the community and is trained in program implementation and data collection procedures by Millie's Bookshelf staff.

Our curriculum emphasizes reading out loud and participating in hands-on learning activities to support children at a crucial stage in their emotional and cognitive development. Children are taught to recognize and regulate emotions, make color and sound connections, and build the basic pre-literacy skills necessary for future educational success. At the end of each program session, children and their parents are encouraged to check out a library book to continue their learning at home.


Za'atari Refugee Camp

In the wake of the Syrian civil war and unrest throughout the Arab world, Jordan has become a hub for displaced persons seeking refuge. According to the UNHCR, Jordan is now home to an estimated 762,420 refugees from 57 different countries, a majority of whom are Syrian. Roughly 83% of Syrian refugees in Jordan reside in informal settlements in urban areas, while the remaining 17% are dispersed across three different camps: Za’atari, Azraq, and Emirati Jordanian Camp.
Jordan’s Za’atari camp is located a few miles south of the Syrian border and is home to 78,597 refugees, making it Jordan’s 4th biggest population center and one of the largest refugee camps in the world. What started out as a temporary place of refuge from war is now a bustling city with a vibrant informal economy. 18,493 children are currently enrolled in 32 schools, 58 community centers provide after-school activities, and 3,000 businesses operate along Za’atari’s main street, generating around $13 million USD in revenue per month.
Amidst this setting, the Jordan Health Aid Society provides comprehensive reproductive and maternal health care to the camp’s residents. This well-respected Jordanian NGO operates the UNFPA-funded Women and Girls Comprehensive Center, the sole maternity clinic in Za’atari Camp. A preliminary survey of JHAS’ clients in this clinic indicated that while 93.2% of respondents are literate in Arabic, only 20.2% of respondents were aware of a location where they and their families could access reading resources in the camp. By developing a safe space to read and learn in the JHAS clinic, we will be able to mitigate this "book desert" and provide reading services to young women and their children while they are waiting to be seen by JHAS’ midwives and physicians.