‘Reading Nation’ to provide 5 million books

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has launched a special Ramadan campaign in the UAE that aims to provide 5 million books for children in refugee camps and students in under-privileged schools across the world.

The campaign will distribute two million books to children and students in refugee camps, in addition to creating 2,000 libraries in schools in need around the world by providing two million books and the rest will be available to support educational programmes of Emirati humanitarian organisations working abroad.

Sheikh Mohammed said, “Every Ramadan, the UAE gains the attention of millions of people globally for its enlightening efforts and campaigns that help build their future. This year, the UAE has moved from feeding the hungry and quenching thirst to nurturing the mind and the soul. In some countries, 30 children share one book. Therefore, our religious and civilisational responsibility is to support those seeking knowledge wherever they are. Our religion encourages us to seek knowledge that paves the way towards building civilisations. Books do, indeed, facilitate people’s journey to enlightenment and help secure a prosperous future.”

He added, “We call on public and private sector entities to activate their role in society. The campaign will continue until the 19th day of Ramadan that coincides with Zayed Humanitarian Day. We will definitely reap the fruits of the efforts made by our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and gain the science and knowledge necessary for the progress of our country and the world.”

A committee has been established to oversee this year’s Ramadan campaign, comprising a number of government entities, media organisations, and national and humanitarian organisations across the UAE under the chairmanship of Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Secretary-General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future.

Al Gergawi said, “The directives of Their Highnesses, the UAE President and Vice President, to make 2016 the Year of Reading, will reflect positively on the Arab and Islamic worlds. The ‘Reading Nation’ campaign conveys a message of love, tolerance and development sent by the UAE leadership and its people to the region and the world.

“Each Ramadan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launches a unique philanthropic campaign which he directly supports and supervises. Such campaigns aim to unify the UAE’s humanitarian efforts during this Holy Month and leave a benevolent Emirati footprint across the Arab and Islamic worlds.”

Al Gergawi added, “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. Through this campaign, we will attempt to bridge a part of this knowledge gap.

“The Ramadan campaign ‘Reading Nation’, will begin with a significant contribution from government institutions and community members. Through this cooperation, we seek to make it a huge success every year.”

Etisalat and Du Telecommunications will dedicate toll-free numbers through which individuals can make donations to the campaign throughout Ramadan, with each book costing AED10. Corporate bundle packages include donating between 50,000 to 500,000 books at costs ranging from AED500,000 to AED10,000,000.

The Emirates Red Crescent and Dubai Cares will also receive donations through their bank accounts, branch locations, and donation kiosks across the country.

In addition, the Ministry of Education will organise events and activities to encourage students to donate books that will be sent to children and students in refugee camps.

In support of the campaign, Abu Dhabi Media, Dubai Media Incorporated, Arab Media Group, and major national newspapers and publications, in both Arabic and English, will come together to provide extensive coverage of events and activities linked to the campaign.

Dedicated platforms and kiosks will be set up in shopping malls to enable members of the public to make cash donations and also write personal messages to children in refugee camps and other underprivileged students in beneficiary countries.

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