Sharjah-IBBY Fund approves four new reading projects in Central Asia and MENA

April 9, 2014 9:06 am

The Sharjah-IBBY Fund has approved funding for four new projects in the region of Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa in 2014. The projects were selected from proposals submitted by IBBY National Sections in the region during the Fund’s third annual Advisory Committee Meeting, held during the International Children Book Fair in Bologna, Italy.

The meeting was attended by Ahmed Redza Khairuddin, President of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), Ahmad Al Ameri, Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair, Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Patricia Aldana President of the IBBY Foundation, Liz Page, IBBY Executive Director, Hasmig Chahinian, Vice-President of IBBY, Jehan Al Helou President of IBBY Palestine, and Shada El Sayed from UAEBBY.

Commenting on the meeting, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, UAEBBY Patron and Chairperson of the Sharjah IBBY Fund Advisory Committee, said, “We are extremely pleased to add four more worthy projects to the Sharjah-IBBY Fund’s portfolio. Each of these projects passed through a rigorous selection process and is set to make a real difference in the lives of children of the region. These projects will, also, encourage children to read, develop their talents and give them access to knowledge and information in ways that would be impossible otherwise, due to the extraordinary circumstances in their countries. These projects will allow children to make the best of their talents for their benefit and that of society.”

The new projects that will receive funding are: ‘Tell me a Story’ in Lebanon; ‘The continuation of the long-term reading programmes for conflict/post-conflict situations in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif’ in Afghanistan; and, ‘Book boxes for schools in deprived areas and centres for children with special needs’ in Tunisia. In addition, the Fund will support selected participants from the IBBY sections in the region to attend the 2014 IBBY World Congress in Mexico City in September, where a regional meeting will take place.

The Lebanese Board on Books for Young People (LBBY) will implement their project under the title Tell me a Story as an early childhood literacy intervention programme, which targets children and families living in poverty and/or who have been displaced due to conflict. The mission of the project is to encourage families during the early childhood years to make books a part of their regular routine. This project adopts a three-pronged approach to intervention: using the expertise of healthcare professionals by making them the primary channel for book distribution and the dissemination of advice; introducing interactive storytelling by hosting reading sessions and workshops at clinics; and, ensuring access to quality books through the establishment of mobile libraries. The project is a collaborative effort between the Lebanese Board on Books for Young People and the ReadingStart initiative.

Proposed by the Afghan IBBY Section and ASCHIANA (Afghanistan’s Children – A New Approach) as a continuation of the 2013 long-term reading programmes in three cities in Afghanistan (Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif), the project aims to provide support to children and promote the right to education for the marginalised children by giving them an opportunity to learn how to read. The project will provide training for library assistants, reading assistants and storytellers, and will also fund a mobile library in each of the three cities. The success of the 2013 programme resulted in larger number of children using the mobile libraries than had originally been expected, making it important that more books are purchased with the 2014 funding. Refresher courses will take place before the teams are deployed to marginalised communities, such as IDP camps and the informal settlements. The teams will each consist of a library assistant, two reading assistants and a storyteller, who will spend half a day a week in each of the 10 camps in their area.

The project ‘Book boxes for schools in deprived areas and centres for children with special needs’, was submitted by the Tunisian Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (TUNiBby). The project will provide support to centres for children with special needs by giving them book boxes and training in the use of the books; centres in areas that are poverty stricken will also be presented with the book boxes and training. Four schools, two centres for blind and partially-sighted children, and two centres for autistic children will each receive one book box filled with books and creative materials.

The final project will support participants from IBBY sections in the region to attend the IBBY World Congress 2014. The congress will take place in September in Mexico City with the theme: May everyone really mean everyone. Due to a lack of financial support many IBBY members are often unable to attend the IBBY World Congresses. Without this participation IBBY members are unable to benefit from the exchange and discourse that an IBBY World Congress can offer. The selected participants will be invited to attend the whole Congress and will represent their National Section at the IBBY General Assembly.

For more information please contact:
Yousef Al Taweel
Sahara Communications
Mob: +971505562520

Fadia Daouk
Sahara Communications
Mob: +971505383973

Nadia AlQassab
Sahara Communications
Mob: +971503512183