One year on: Baby Mohammad celebrates his first birthday

#EarlyMomentsMatter for all children, irrespective of where they grow up

Claire McKeever
A baby boy sits surrounded by balloons and other children
02 July 2019

Shaheen, a Syrian refugee living in Azraq refugee camp, Jordan, can't believe how fast his son Mohammad is growing.

"Little by little, he has started walking, laughing and playing with me. When I play with him, he laughs. When I call him, he comes to me. That is the best moment.”

"Every time I see him he has grown more!"

Shaheen, father of Mohammad

One year ago, Mohammad was born in the UNICEF-supported pediatric hospital in the camp where 34 babies are born each week. During their initial days together, his father couldn't take his eyes off his first born. 

“I have a strange feeling. I cannot describe it. When I held him, I loved him."

Holding his newborn closely in his arms, the new father's main concern was how he could raise his son the right way. He hoped Mohammad would grow up to be a doctor, but said he would be no less proud if he became a shepherd like his father. 


A year later, Mohammad has grown to be a happy, curious and playful one-year old, receiving all of the stimulation, nutrition and care he needs to develop. On his first birthday, he visits the UNICEF-supported health clinic to receive his latest vaccinations, keeping him healthy and protected.

“I love to play with him and carry him. I take him with me to the market and bring him back home. I tell everyone we meet ‘this is my son’."

“Honestly, any parent would feel happy to see their child grow. I am so happy when I look at him.”

A father holds his infant son in his arms in a refugee camp

Shaheen knows the importance of play for his son’s development. “When a father plays with his child, then the child gets to know their father and learns from him."

"We must play with them.”


He wants his son to receive a good education, especially as he never has the opportunity to finish school when he was a child. “Education is key. Those who are educated are different. I am always following sheep. I don’t know anything about this world, I wouldn’t even know if it was destroyed and rebuilt.”

UNICEF has supported the healthy growth, education and development of children and youth in Azraq Refugee Camp since it opened in 2014.