New chap­ter for refugee chil­dren

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Is­mail Se­bug­waawo @is­mailsebu

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.”

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