Reading Nation campaign to provide 8.2 million books to children
The Reading Nation campaign closed on Wednesday after greatly exceeding its target, with more than Dh80 million in donations raised to provide more than 8.2 million books to underprivileged children.
That is enough to get the entire population of Switzerland reading.
The announcement was made on Wednesday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on his official Twitter account.
“The books will open wide doors of hope for millions of needy students and refugees,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “They embody the divine message that we are truly a ‘Read’ nation.
“I thank everyone who has supported this initiative. Ramadan will always be a month of charity, and the UAE is, and will always remain, a generous nation and a global capital of benevolence.”
Launched at the start of Ramadan, the campaign initially was aimed at providing five million books to children in refugee camps and schools.
The target was two million books for refugee children, two million for more than 2,000 school libraries around the world, and one million to support educational programmes run by aid organisations.
Schoolchildren across the globe will receive 8.28 million books either through the cash donations or in the form of books. An auction for the campaign generated Dh41m in sales, enough to provide 4.1m books.
The annual Ramadan initiatives that Sheikh Mohammed launches “give much-needed hope for millions of needy people”, said Mohammed Al Gergawi, secretary general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.
“This year’s campaign complements the series of global development initiatives that are led by the UAE and focused on dealing with the root causes of poverty, ignorance and intolerance,” said Mr Al Gergawi, who is also Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future.
“The Reading Nation campaign came at a perfect time during the UAE Year of Reading and the holy month of Ramadan to help boost knowledge in Arab and Muslim countries.”
Teams listed thousands of needy schools in Arab and Muslim countries and the number of beneficiary libraries was raised from 2,000 to 3,500.
More than 500 schools participated in the campaign, which, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, organised an open week at all schools to encourage pupils to donate books.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid donated a 106-year-old piece of the Kaaba’s Kiswa that generated Dh2.1m in sales for the charity auction, while an autographed panel of excerpts from his poetry book Flashes of Verse sold for Dh1.1m.
The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority offered five licence-plate numbers that brought in Dh25.5m, while telecoms companies Etisalat and du offered 10 telephone numbers that brought in Dh4.16m and Dh2.5m, respectively.
During the first week of Reading Nation, Emirates Red Crescent distributed 500,000 books to Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Kurdistan. Another 500,000 were given to Syrian refugees in the UAE-funded camp in Jordan. Two million more are expected to be distributed to refugee camps, half in Iraq and half in Jordan.
The Red Crescent, along with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, said it would also distribute 100,000 books to public libraries in Yemen.
Published: June 29, 2016 04:00 AM