Performers during the reading festival, being held at Expo Centre Sharjah till Sunday

Sharjah: Child prodigies in the fields of science and literature, came together at the ongoing 13th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) to host a series of talks and share stories of their accomplishments in a bid to urge their peers to pursue their dreams and realise their full potential.

Held at the Kids’ Creative Café at Expo Centre Sharjah, the talks featured young philanthropist Patrick Njoroge Wachira from Kenya, among others.

Patrick, a 12-year-old CEO from Kenya left the young audience awestruck with a presentation about his initiative, the PNW Innovations Programme, which offers free STEM education to underprivileged Kenyan children.

Patrick Njoroge Wachira at the event Image Credit: Supplied

As part of the initiative, Patrick is working on a Mobile STEM Lab and Makerspace built on a bus equipped with robots and drones, learning kits, and electronic and mechanical workstations, which will travel throughout rural Kenya.

“I want to empower every African child to be an innovator,” he said.

An avid robotics enthusiast, Patrick said his favourite attraction at SCRF was the Robot Zoo. He added that he draws great inspiration from the UAE’s leaders for their efforts in building up the nation.

Young author

The line-up of gifted young speakers also included Devi Vaishnavi, a 12-year-old author of two books, who delivered a speech recounting her writing journey.

She said: “I strongly believe that reading lays the foundation for writing books. If we cultivate the habit of reading, then we can experience the joy of writing.”

Devi Vaishnavi Image Credit: Supplied

Devi added: “I am greatly inspired by the words of Toni Morrison: ‘If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it’.”

She is currently working on 26 more story ideas.

Sharing the inspiration behind her debut novel Vampid: The Vampire Virus, based on the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, Devi said: “This book is a token of love to the doctors, nurses, volunteers, and all those whose efforts have brought us back to our normal lives.”

The Sky Speaks, her second novel, champions family values through a story about a young girl’s loving bond with her mother and sisters.

SCRF 2022 continues at Expo Centre Sharjah until May 22.

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Also at SCRF, chef Sally Bee, who has survived five cardiac attacks owing to a heart condition she was born with, said: “All the fruit I eat has to help me survive.”

Sally Bee with her ‘Orange and Peach Filo Parcels’ that she prepared during the event Image Credit: Supplied

The London-based TV presenter and best-selling author of six cookbooks on healthy cooking was at SCRF to present a selection of her healthy recipes – such as the ‘Orange and Peach Filo Parcels’.

Fruits should be both healthy and tasty, she declared after putting the question to a public vote among the audience and set about making a fruit syrup for the pastry.