Feb 1, 2023

On Wednesday, February 1, 2023, the activities of the eighth session of the Used Book Festival, which Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) is holding from February 1 to 4, 2023 in Palm Garden, on the banks of Khalid Lake in Sharjah began. Public benefit associations, government and private agencies and schools, universities and diplomatic missions, and the institutions and groups of society, and its individuals are having distinguished participation.

Since early morning, the festival venue have been crowded with school students, and lovers of reading and books. They began searching for the books they want from the valuable titles offered by SCHS, believing in its educational and societal role. SCHS sells books at symbolic prices ranging between one and twenty dirhams.

Sharjah Driving Institute donates 150,000 dirhams to SCHS in support of the festival and its services

In a gesture that shows the keen of Sharjah Driving Institute to the principles of social responsibility, the institute announced this morning its donation of one hundred and fifty thousand dirhams (150 thousand dirhams) in support of the festival. The money also will support the services provided by SCHS to its students with disabilities in accordance with international best practices.

The institute appreciated SCHS's efforts to include, advocate and empower people with disabilities, indicating that the services provided by SCHS deserve all the support and assistance.

A special corridor for people with disabilities and the elderly

Because SCHS is keen to make a place for everyone, including people with disabilities, the elderly, and mothers who accompany their children using strollers, the festival provides a special passageway for people with physical disabilities who use wheelchairs. This is a deep message to society with the aim of facilitating access for people with disabilities.

Salem Al Muhairi's statement

During a tour around the festival, His Excellency Salem Ali Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Municipal Council of Sharjah, praised the elaborate organization and dedication of the volunteers at work. He stressed that the organization of this festival by SCHS is evidence of its commitment to educating the community and providing an opportunity for everyone to support the services it provides to people with disabilities, whether by donating books or buying them.

Al Muhairi spoke about the importance of the festival in promoting culture and awareness among the people of society and developing a sense of volunteer work in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

He explained that the existing cooperation between SCHS and Sharjah Municipality is solid and firm. It is not limited to a specific event, but rather includes many activities. He extended his sincere thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, President of SCHS, and to all the organizers and volunteers at the Al-Waraqeen Festival for Used Books.

Khaled Al-Midfa's statement

For his part, Dr. Khaled Omar Al-Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City "Shams", has confirmed that the efforts of SCHS in organizing the Al-Warraqeen Festival for Used Books and ensuring its sustainability confirm the extent of its interest in raising awareness and promoting culture among society members. In addition, generalizing the benefit of used books is a noble cultural and human idea that encourages society acquire knowledge through reading.

Al Midfa thanked all organizers, volunteers and workers in the festival. He highly appreciated all that SCHS is doing to serve people with disabilities and society in accordance with international best practices.

Muhammed Khalaf's statement

In his turn, His Excellency Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of the Sharjah Broadcasting and Television Authority, expressed his overwhelming happiness because he was one of the first to arrive at the festival grounds. He wandered among the book sections and selected a number of them. He stressed that SCHS, by organizing the Used Book Festival, provides a wonderful opportunity for all members of society to buy valuable books at affordable prices that suits all people.

Mona Abdul Karim's statement

Her Excellency Mona Abdul Karim, Director of SCHS, welcomed the guests and visitors of the festival. She called on everyone to visit the festival, purchase valuable books, and establish private libraries, at very symbolic prices.

She said, “The event aims at enhancing the value and importance of books by encouraging reading, developing and enhancing the spirit of volunteer work among members of society of all age groups, promoting cultural and social values. The festival establishes entertaining and cultural activities that attract all nationalities and age groups, paying attention to the creations of persons with disabilities and their peers, non-disabled children and youth. It provides financial revenues for SCHS in an innovative way with a moral and cultural return. In addition to contributing to introducing people to the services, programs and activities that SCHS offers to its students”.

She pointed out that the organization of the eighth session of the festival coincided with the "Year of Sustainability" in the United Arab Emirates. SCHS attaches great importance to sustainability and its principles in all its services and activities. Its organization of the eighth session of the Al-Waraqeen Festival for Used Books is an evidence of this importance in SCHS approaches.

“In addition to the great benefit towards preserving the environment, as the circulation and recycling of books reduces the consumption of papers, which results in the least amount of waste possible. In addition, SCHS encourages the sharing of books between friends and family”, added Mona.

She said that the Al-Warraqeen Festival for Used Books is truly an oasis for volunteering. It witnesses the volunteering of many groups of society within the working committees, and people with disabilities participate as volunteers. Moreover, a group of cultural and artistic events and activities accompany the festival.

Mona thanked SCHS's partners in organizing the festival: Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Police General Command, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, and Dubai Islamic Bank. Special thanks went to the main sponsors, Sharjah National Oil Corporation, Fast Building Contracting Company, and the media sponsor, Ramal International Company for Advertising and Site Global Company, and to all contributors and volunteers, whether individuals or institutions.

Special thanks went to Sharjah Driving Institute for donating 150,000 dirhams in support of the festival. She stressed that this donation stems from a deep sense of social responsibility.

Events accompanying the festival

The festival witnesses many artistic and cultural events. Mr. Muhammad Bakr, the Supervisor of the Art for All Center “Falaj” affiliated to SCHS, has confirmed that the most important of them are the artistic workshops offered by the center, and the exhibition of paintings created by art for all associates with their sense and skill. In addition to art workshops offered by institutions participating in the festival such as (Sharjah Government Media Office - Sharjah Art Foundation - Fann Foundation - Japanese Emirati Cultural Center - Sharjah Youth - and other institutions).

He added, "Among the activities are the artistic participations presented by public and private schools, in addition to theatrical performances by the “Sharjah Mayem” and “Falaj Theater” troupes, Al-Hakawati Theater and Al-Nashia Theater.  As well as musical performances presented by the Art Center for All – Falaj”.

Mrs. Khadija Ahmed Bamakhramah, Head of the Committee for Attracting Governmental Agencies, Institutions, Centers, Associations of Public Benefit and Communities, indicated that the committee was responsible for organizing the purposeful competitions that are consistent with festival’s objectives to encourage the habit of reading. 

It includes the Young Writer Competition in order to urge children from all ages to participate in writing a short story inspired by their imagination. This competition aims at discovering the abilities and talents of students in the field of writing, motivating and encouraging them to continue to be writers in the future. The competition continues throughout the days of the festival during the two periods, morning and evening.

One of the events is "the Most Beautiful Comment" competition. Organizers choose a picture daily from the pictures taken for visitors, and they ask the audience to comment on this picture from the site and choose the best comment.

The festival also witnesses the activity of simplified reading, which is a methodology that targets children with disabilities and learning difficulties from the audience present on the festival grounds. In addition to the event of hosting communities in coordination with embassies and interested parties that wish to participate.

Ray of Goodness Convoy

The eighth session of the Al-Warraqeen Festival for Used Books witnesses the volunteering of 16 people from the "Ray of Goodness Convoy" from Egypt in the various works of the festival.

Dr. Adel Qassem, a faculty member at Zagazig University and the pioneer of the Ray of Goodness Convoy, expressed his great happiness with this participation, which is in line with the objectives of the convoy.

He said, “During its long years of work, the convoy has always paid attention to children with social and technical disabilities. It emphasized the role of thought in societal renaissance, which Ms. Sabreen Ramadan Fahmy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Charity Association for the Care of Special Groups in North Sinai and director of Al-Ahram Newspaper, supports. She is one of the volunteers with physical disability. She confirmed the role of thought and the keenness of the Ray of Goodness Convoy on this principle within all its volunteering activities”.