Sharjah / Emirates Business
Officials from the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), the national branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), recently visited the UAE Red Crescent Authority moderated Emirati-Jordanian refugee camp at the Mrajeeb Al Fhood in Jordan.
Representatives from Knowledge without Borders (KwB) accompanied the officials, with the delegation’s visit to the camp forming a side-line initiative to the 16th edition of the Amman International Book Fair, which runs from September 28 to October 9.
Included among the delegation were Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board; Rashid Al Kous, General Manager of KwB and a number of UAEBBY supervisors and administrative assistants. As part of the ‘Kan Yama Kan’ (‘Once upon a Time’) initiative the representatives conducted an array of therapeutic reading sessions and literature-themed educational and entertainment activities for the children there. The delegation also furnished the ‘Big Heart Library’ with a diverse collection of 500 new children’s books. Established at the camp in June 2014, the library’s initial stock of 3,000 books was supplied by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAEBBY and Head of the KwB Organising Committee.
KwB, another Sharjah-based cultural project dedicated to opening up reading for young people, distributed a collection of presents and gifts to the Syrian refugee children at the camp, including school supplies, with the aim of encouraging the children and motivating them to read and learn.
“The idea of the Kan Yama Kan initiative derived from the vision of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAEBBY, who believes that every child in this world has the right to have access to books and sources of knowledge. The initiative is committed to providing books and psychological support to children living in remote areas or whose lives have been affected by civil unrest and wars,” said Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board.
“This is not the first time that the UAEBBY has visited the camp – our first visit saw the opening of the Big Heart Library in 2014. Through our activities with the children there we are aiming to help build for them a better future. We aspire to nurture their minds and souls through the therapeutic reading sessions that we provide. These are designed to help motivate them and encourage their positive thinking, with the aim of helping them to better deal with the challenges they face in their situation,” she continued.
Marwa Al Aqroubi expressed her gratitude and appreciation and thanked the management of the camp for supporting and facilitating the mission of the UAEBBY, praising the role of the UAE Red Crescent Authority in helping refugees and those in need at the camp and elsewhere in the world. Rashid Al Kous, General Manager of KwB, said; “We aim to promote a reading culture in Sharjah and the UAE by taking part in a number of different activities. Our participation in the Kan Yama Kan initiative, through which we furnished the Big Heart Library with 500 books for refugee children, is part of the expansion of our operations to include areas outside the UAE that have limited or no access to books, with a special focus on Syrian refugee camps. We call on all organisations to participate in the book donation drives that are launched by our partners at the UAEBBY throughout the year so that children everywhere can enjoy access to books, regardless of their circumstances.”