Monday, March 7, 2011

Success of the Fourth Used Book Fair a “Treasure of Knowledge” - a motivational factor to encourage reading habit

Success of the Fourth Used Book Fair a “Treasure of Knowledge” - a motivational factor to encourage reading habit

Success of the Fourth Used Book Fair a “Treasure of Knowledge” - a motivational factor to encourage reading habit

About 40,000 Visitors Attended The Fourth Used Book Fair a “Treasure of Knowledge”

The Fourth Used Book Fair under the theme “Treasure of Knowledge”, which was organized by Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) a non-profit organization located in the UAE under the Director Generalship of Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, concluded on Saturday, March 5th, 2011.

SCHS aims at providing education, advocacy, and independence for people with disabilities.

The doors of the festival were opened until midnight Saturday 5th March 2011 in order to receive the energetic crowd, who came to buy books at nominal price and to enjoy an evening with cultural and social activities held in the open air theatre.

Children from various schools seized this opportunity to show their real talents onstage.

The purchase of books were made easy using a coupon system, which then went into a lucky draw.

According to Jihad Abdel Qader, the fair's General Coordinator, 4 LCD TV sets, 3 electronic dictionaries, 10 dinner invitations to the Mega Mall, 4 invitations to Khalidia Resort in Sharjah, 3 mobile phones, and 1 invitation to Armani Restaurant at Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building, were given as winning gifts to a number of visitors on Saturday evening.

The intensive presence of visitors from day one of the fair was highly motivational to volunteers, who dedicated a lot of time and effort to make the event a success.

The aim of the event was to raise public awareness of the importance of reading to increase knowledge and develop minds. In addition SCHS will allocate the revenue generated by the sales to continue the humanitarian services the organization provides.

Salah Odaa, SCHS Sign Language Interpreter, pointed out the importance of this happening in relation to culture and education. It has many goals such as bringing people together. Mr. Odaa handled the sign language interpretation for a number of SCHS deaf students, who volunteered to work in festival security. He considers the large number of visitors was a clear indication of people's interest in knowledge and culture and grab the limited opportunities available to enhance them. Seeing the success of this years event, the public is demanding for more such festivals in the future.

It was Kholod Mohammed from SCHS's Vocational Rehabilitation & Training Department first time in the festival, but it won't be the last. She supports the goals of the festival. She thinks the idea is brilliant. Kholod suggested, in the coming circle of the festival, to create new activities in order to attract more visitors. These activities will target small children to motivate them to show more interest in reading. Some of the current festival activities include themes like “Know Your Name in Sign Language”, “Young Writer”, and the fictional character “Katoobah” were especially there to target the interest of children. The character was suggested by Kholod.

Young Writer: A Workshop of Innovation

This activity was the suggestion of Babris Abeash and Sandra Hassin from Sharjah Autism Center. The activity attracted children from ages 6 to 15.

Girls were more interested in the activity than boys. They appreciated the importance of this festival in relation to culture and socialization. The idea of the activity is to ask small children to write their own stories. Then, supervisors ask those children about the plot, the characters, and the theme of the story. English and Arabic stories were accepted. In order to stimulate kids, they were given small cards with "Young Writer" written on them.

Mothers of the Disabled Board Contribution

Mrs. Fatahia Abu Aqlean, the mother of Ahmed Sheqar, a down syndrome child, was grateful to mothers of the disabled, who volunteered to work in the festival with great enthusiasm. The fair has united the community in one activity. The festival aims at changing public's misconceptions about people with disabilities and motivating parents to support their loved ones. Mrs. Majdah Hassim, the mother of Ahmed Hussain who is mentally disabled, was happy with this humanitarian initiative. She thanked SCHS staff. She said: "The initiative is good and effective. It is a very important kind of charity that serves the community and raises the value of books.”

Visitors Opinions

SCHS has always been a place for culture and science, but it is unique to provide books at reasonable prices with the intention of encouraging reading in order to continue the development of the community. All revenues from the festival will go to support the services provided for people with disabilities. This is really inspirational.

Mr. Mohammad Shaker, the father of Abdel Kareem who is mentally handicapped, confirmed the importance of the intensive presence of visitors in the success of the festival.

In addition, the festival accomplished its main goal, which is raising the value of books. He said: "The festival has several cultural meanings such as redistributing books for those who like to read but cannot afford that kind of luxury".

He appreciated the work of volunteers, who were competing amongst each other to sell as many books as possible.

By each step it takes, SCHS is becoming a leader in organizing such events. It genuinely deserves much credit for spreading knowledge, culture, and supporting people with disabilities.

Mrs. Khadeja Bamakhramah, Personal Assistant of SCHS’s General Director, affirmed that many new charities were attracted this year to participate in the festival. Chinese residents in Sharjah volunteered to collect books and help sell them. In addition, the festival hosted two poets from Egypt.

A questionnaire was given out to visitors who were pleased with the activities and demanded to extend the duration of the festival for one week next year. Mrs. Bamakhramah said: "We hope to host representatives from Arab and gulf countries in the coming years. This year we managed to attract a huge crowd with different nationalities. The festival is indeed a “Treasure of Knowledge".

Report and photos presented by:

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Volunteer for SCHS
Volunteer for Manzil

In co-ordination with:

Shaundel Sanchez
Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services
Media and International Relations

PS:  The 4th Used Book Fair 2011 organised by SCHS is an excellent example for case study by Management students and organisations as to how an event of this nature could be successfully conducted generating huge interest with limited sponsorship offerings and unlimited, tireless and devoted volunteering by a group of dedicated individuals.

To know more about Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, please visit 

To know more about Manzil, please visit

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