Kalimat Foundation, Etihad Airways Collaborate to Facilitate Giving Unprivileged Communities Access to Books

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By Solomon Nda-Isaiah, Dubai

Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment (KF), the Sharjah-based non-profit organisation that seeks to ensure the basic right of every child to read and to have access to books, and Etihad Airways have signed an MoU to facilitate the delivery books and other educational materials to underprivileged children around the world, in the presence of Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson of KF.

The agreement was signing between Khaled Al Mehairabi, Senior Vice President of Abu Dhabi Airport Operations for Etihad Airways, and Amna Al Mazmi, Manager of KF, on the side lines of KF’s participation at the 36th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2017).

Etihad Airways will support KF to set up libraries in places that are hit by natural disasters and wars, helping them realise their goal of making society more caring and understanding through literacy and exposure to books.

Among attendees of the ceremony were Isobel Abulhoul, Secretery General of KF; Abdul Majid Jafar, Treasurer; Ambassador Lana Z. Nusseibeh, Member of Board of Trustees and Adil Al Mulla, Vice President Procurement and Supply Management of Etihad Airways.

Khaled Al Mehairabi, Senior Vice President of Abu Dhabi Airport Operations for Etihad Airways, said: “We welcome this agreement, which aims to coordinate the concerted efforts of the two sides to serve the most unprivileged communities at the global level. Mutually beneficial for both parties, it furthers the achievements of the UAE’s strategy on social responsibility towards the nation and the world. The dedication of our wise leadership to supporting those events and initiatives is appreciated, especially in the Year of Giving 2017.”

“We seek to achieve excellence in delivering social services, and foster a love of reading and knowledge acquisition, as well as support the global education initiatives, which were launched by Etihad Airways. We strive to promote knowledge and awareness among the community, through joint campaigns and events and activities organised by the two sides, as well as enhance communication between us with the aim of achieving our common objectives,” he added.

Amna Al Mazimi, Manager of KF: “At Kalimat Foundation, we believe that books are the fastest means to successful social development, and reading is the light that turns the misery of ignorance to enlightenment, hope, imagination and creativity across communities in the world. Our core focus is to ensure that children have access to books irrespective of their backgrounds, societies, development level, political climate, and any other factor. Reading is a child’s basic right, and one of the best ways to ensure young minds flourish and succeed.”

Al Mazimi underscored that the KF is always keen to widen its global support network by forging effective and mutually beneficial partnerships with likeminded institutions who share the Foundation’s values and objectives. Etihad Airways, a flag carrier and the second-largest airline of the UAE, is one of the first national corporations that KF has collaborated with.  The decision, she said, is a reflection of the Foundation’s mission to establish yet more libraries that provides many more children with literature, learning and hope.

The agreement stipulates that KF will provide a collection of books and libraries to schools in line with the ‘Etihad Airways Group Initiative to Support Global Education’. Moreover, volunteers from KF will participate in all cultural events by Etihad to empowering and encouraging children to read in the UAE and beyond.

On its part, Etihad Airways will transport KF’s books and libraries for free to target destinations whenever possible.

Alongside her presence the signing event, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi presided over a KF Board of Trustees meeting also held at SIBF 2017. The meeting analysed KF’s annual report in the presence of Isobel Abulhoul; Abdul Majid Jafar; Ambassador Lana Z. Nusseibeh.

During the meeting, possible ways to provide underprivileged refugee children from around the world with intellectual and cultural support through the establishment of children-public-libraries was discussed.

In 2017, KF has provided 5,700 books directly to children worldwide, donated 3,500 books, and produced 30,000 books to support differently abled children. These books include 10,000 books each in the categories of braille, audio and large print books. The Foundation also distributed 400 books as part of ARA initiative.

In September this year, they distributed 2,000 Arabic books to 25 public libraries across Sweden. As part of their ‘Our Eid with Them’ campaign in the
UAE-Jordan Camp in Mrajeeb Al Fhood in Jordan, they distributed Eid Al-Adha gifts to 2,000 children

Throughout its array of projects, Kalimat Foundation is dedicated to ensuring every child’s right to read, and to adopting books as the ideal way to develop children’s intellectual and social capabilities positively. It believes in the positive impact of books on creating a future knowledge-based generation, and it is committed to launching and implementing initiatives that facilitate the provision of public libraries and refugee camps with books, as well as giving children in disadvantaged areas access to sources of knowledge.