As part of its ‘Ara’ initiative, launched to promote awareness about the issues of blind and visually impaired children, the Sharjah-based non-profit, Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment (KF), has provided 840 copies of braille, audio and large-print books to support Dar Al Kutub libraries in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain as well as to all Sharjah Public Libraries branches.
The move is in line with KF’s goal to enable children with special needs better access to books and knowledge, which will ensure their social and emotional wellbeing, improve their education, and better integrate them in society.
Prior to the books donation initiative, a KF delegation visited these libraries to review the quality and quantity of literature offered by the institutions to children suffering from blindness or visual difficulties, and identified the gaps that needed to be filled.
Amna Al Mazmi, Director of KF, said: “Through the ‘Ara’ initiative, we aim to enrich the lives, knowledge and cultural experiences of visually impaired children. Supporting libraries with Braille audio-visual books, which are the first batch of books for children in these libraries, is in line with the Foundation’s vision and is in line with the directives of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson of KF to introduce the most innovative literary initiatives empower children by ensuring they can fully enjoy their right to read and have access to books. Books are a true community treasure, which will allow our children to broaden their horizons, learn empathy and grow up as a generation of leaders that will serve their nation.”
Al Mazmi added: “This new collection of books is unique and hopefully will be something that their young readers will truly enjoy. We are always keen on supporting the UAE’s libraries and expanding their lists with books representing a wealth of diversity.”
Sara Al Marzouqi, Director of Sharjah Public Libraries said: “Sharjah Libraries are now 400 books richer with high-quality content for visually impaired children. It is evident that Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment’s noble goals are inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The emirate has been always committed to instil in children a love for knowledge, learning and good values, which will govern their actions when they serve their communities. Such initiatives are unique, inclusive and truly outstanding.”
Juma Al Dhaheri, Director of Library Services, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, said: “The Ara initiative is part of a national project to build new generation that has equal access to literature and sources of knowledge irrespective of their physical abilities. We need to do more to adapt reading materials to fit the learning requirements of children with special needs, a significant step towards opening the door or equality and participation to them, and ensure that these children grow up in an environment inclusive enough for them to contribute to and thrive within.”
Since its establishment in 2016, Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment has launched and implemented a series of initiatives and programs to facilitate easy access to books for refugee children and public libraries as part of its vision of ensure the rights of children in affected areas to access to knowledge and education, in line with its commitment to build an educated Arab generation who knows about other cultures of the world.