The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) has launched the "Kan Yama Kan" initiative that will provide stationary and mobile libraries for children living in areas with limited, or no access, to books due to social or natural crisis or unrest and wars.
Kan Yama Kan, which means “Once upon a time” in Arabic is a part of the UAEBBY’s effort to bring children and books closer, and was launched during the 34th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2015) being held at the Expo Centre from November 4-14.
The libraries, which will be set up in a number of countries and regions around the world, will provide entertainment for children, as well as moral support.
The initiative is based on the “Big Heart Library” launched by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, UAEBBY Patron, in the Emirati-Jordanian camp for Syrian refugees in June 2014. The library, containing 3,000 books, is named after the "Big Heart Campaign", which was launched by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al
Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and the UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, to support refugee and needy children throughout the world.
Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of UAEBBY Executive Board, said, “We are eager to bring children and books together, especially in areas where children face difficulties in getting their rightful education and knowledge. The initiative derives its name from the sentence that most children’s stories begin with, Once Upon a Time, to encourage children to read and overcome the tough conditions they have endured.”
“We hope these libraries exceed the traditional role of providing education and entertainment and also provide moral and psychological support for children and help prevent negative thinking. We eagerly hope that Kan Yama Kan libraries offer children a space where they can find what they need to raise their hopes and give them confidence that the future will be better and more beautiful for them and for those whom they love,” Al Aqroubi added.
The UAEBBY is the national section in the UAE for the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) which has 77 sections across the world. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953, IBBY represents an international network of organisations and people from all over the world who are committed to encouraging a culture of reading and bringing children closer to the world of books.