New chapter for refugee children
Sheikh Mohammed in drive to donate millions of books to kids in need Millions of children are to benefit from a new UAE campaign to ensure schools in the developing world have books.
Speaking at the launch of the Reading Nation initiative yesterday, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said that in some schools up to 30 children could share a single book.
It is also estimated that 10,000 schools do not have a library.
The campaign will see two million books provided to refugee camps, while a further two million will be used to create 2,000 libraries in schools in deprived areas around the world.
Another one million will support educational programmes run by Emirati humanitarian organisations working abroad.
Sheikh Mohammed announced the campaign, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, on Twitter.
“Today, we announce our Ramadan campaign, ‘Reading Nation’,” he wrote.
“The Reading Nation campaign will provide #5 Million Books for refugee students and students in schools in need around the world.”
Sheikh Mohammed said the fastest way to end poverty is to eliminate ignorance. He added: “Every Ramadan, the UAE gains the attention of millions of people globally for its enlightening efforts and campaigns that help build their future. “And this year, the UAE has moved from feeding the hungry and quenching thirst to nurturing the mind and the soul.” He invited businessmen, public and private institutions to join the campaign. Du and Etisalat will dedicate free phone numbers through which residents can make donations throughout Ramadan. Each book costs Dhs10. Companies can also support the programme. They can pay for 50,000 to 500,000 books through donations of up to Dhs10 million. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Secretary-General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, said schools in parts of the Arab world have to teach without proper materials. According to a report by the Arab Thought Foundation in 2012, pupils in the region have among the lowest rates of reading. Al Gergawi said: “Around 10,000 schools in the Arab world do not have student libraries. “There are also millions of refugee children left without any educational programmes or school books. And through this campaign, we will attempt to bridge a part of this knowledge gap.”