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UAE Education

Watch: UAE’s Sheikha Bodour leads library donation event for disadvantaged Arab children in Greece

Chairperson of Kalimat Foundation also read and signed complimentary copies of her book

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi interacts with young readers at Thessaloniki Central Library
Image Credit: Supplied

Thessaloniki: Disadvantaged young Arab children in Greece will now be able to enjoy reading Arabic books thanks to a donation of a compact library by Sharjah-based Kalimat Foundation to the Thessaloniki Central Library.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson of Kalimat Foundation, led the book donation visit under the Foundation’s ‘Pledge a Library’ initiative.

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The visit witnessed the attendance of Dr Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic; Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of the Sharjah Book Authority and board member of Kalimat Foundation; and Vassilis Gakis, Thessaloniki Deputy Mayor of Culture.

The visit was part of the foundation’s participation at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair (TIBF), where Sharjah was the official Guest of Honour. Through this donation, the initiative has provided the Greek institution with a compact library containing 100 Arabic language books.


Sheikha Bodour said: “Through the impactful donations via Pledge a Library initiative, including our second major contribution to communities within the Hellenic Republic [Greece] since 2019, we are not only providing underprivileged children with access to knowledge but also igniting a spark that will enlighten their paths to a better future”.

She added: “Our committed and ever-expanding global outreach continues to unlock the boundless potential within young minds, regardless of their circumstances. By cultivating a culture of learning and empathy, we are empowering these children to overcome adversity, write their own stories of resilience, and forge a brighter tomorrow for themselves and their communities.”

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Reading session

The gesture was accompanied by a reading session led by Sheikha Bodour, who read from her book World Book Capital and signed complimentary copies for the participating children. The session was followed by a workshop inspired by the book and attended by Arab children who are part of ‘ARSIS - Association for the Social Support of Youth’.

A second donation of a compact library was made to ARSIS, a non-governmental organisation in Thessaloniki that specialises in the social support of youth who are in difficulty or danger and in the advocacy of their rights. The organisation hosts both Arab families and unaccompanied children, and these donations through the Pledge a Library initiative will enhance the literary and knowledge resources available to these children, giving them direct access to material in their own language.


Amna Al Mazmi, director of Kalimat Foundation, said: “Kalimat Foundation reflects the efforts of Sharjah and its leadership in establishing a culture of knowledge and building bridges of intellectual communication, we believe every child deserves access to literature and learning. Our Pledge a Library initiative reaffirms this commitment and emphasises the crucial role of collaborative efforts with like-minded entities across the globe to empower communities through the liberating power of literacy, connecting them to their cultural heritage and forging a sense of belongingness to their homelands.”

Raising awareness

During the four-day TIBF, Kalimat Foundation advocated its noble mission and promoted its flagship Pledge a Library initiative, which has already made a difference in the lives of over 16,700 children across 24 countries. Visitors were also able to contribute towards the cause by purchasing various products featured in the initiative’s unique merchandise line designed in collaboration with renowned contemporary Emirati artist Mohamed Al Mansoori.