Date Posted 20 Jun 2023
In the middle of 2022, the number of refugees worldwide stood at 103 million, including 32.5 million children, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) statistics.
Stripped from their homes and cherished memories, uprooted from the land that once nurtured them in its safe, tranquil, and joyous embrace, these refugee children bear the burden of conflicts they play no part in, sometimes all their lives.
Not having any place they can call home and with little or no access to books, they are denied the vital human right to read.
Kalimat Foundation, a UAE-based global non-profit and the fruition of the passionate vision of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson, has been piercing through this darkness. Under their “Pledge a Library” initiative, the foundation has spread the light of knowledge in 23 nations in five continents, placing 15,700 quality Arabic language books in the hands of under-resourced and forcibly displaced children.
Since its inception in November 2017, the initiative has drawn a smile on the faces of more than 100,000 underprivileged children, illuminating their minds with knowledge, through its partnership with 88 schools, orphanages, and non-profit organisations.
These are not mere statistics. These are the vibrant testimonies of success that Kalimat Foundation’s initiative has gathered across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, by empowering children with the transformative stories in Arabic language books.
Pledge a Library has been collaborating with like-minded partners locally and internationally, to beat all odds and restore hope and happiness in the lives of these children by bringing them the joy of literature.
Pledge a library
In a new step to draw public support for the “Pledge a Library” initiative, Kalimat Foundation has recently launched a new product line in collaboration with Emirati artist Mohammed Al Mansoori. The proceeds from all sales are dedicated to support their mission and uphold the refugee children’s right to read and access books. The new endeavour reflects Kalimat Foundation’s commitment to continued innovation and creativity to achieve its humanitarian objectives.
Amna Al Mazmi, Director of Kalimat Foundation, commented: “Reading and knowledge are the nurturers of hope and the beacon of a bright future for refugee children worldwide. On this special occasion, we are committed to reminding the community of this through our ‘Pledge a Library’ initiative.
These children have endured circumstances that surpass their strength. Knowledge is a formidable force that equips them with the tools to adapt and enhance their realities, aligning with the fundamental right of every human being, especially children, to a dignified life.”
She added: “Through children’s books, we build bridges of love and understanding. We connect these young minds with communities worldwide, supporting them as they navigate the challenges of displacement and overcome adversity. These books not only support their social reintegration, but they also empower these resilient individuals to embark on intellectual pursuits, progress, and thrive in their lives, equipped with their knowledge, talents, and skills.”
The journey ahead
With a profound sense of pride in its accomplishments, Kalimat Foundation cherishes its journey thus far to bring books and children together, in the most difficult of circumstances. They also acknowledge that their journey is far from over.
As crises and conflicts surge, the number of children who need help and support also increases, which in turn amplifies the importance of books as beacons of hope and catalysts for positive change. Each library has a story worth telling, and between the folds of every book, donors and patrons have written a success story about how books changed the lives of refugee children.