An initiative to encourage students in the UAE and Arab world to read was launched by Shaikh Mohammad earlier this year. The Arab Reading Challenge aims for a million students in the Arab world to read 50 million books. The total value of the incentives is $3 million (approximately Dh11 million). Image Credit: WAM/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A new Ramadan campaign which aims to distribute 5 million books to children in refugee camps and schools around the world was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The ‘Reading Nation’ campaign is part of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and is another step through which the UAE expresses its passion for serving humanity.

Out of the total 5 million books, the initiative will provide one million books to support educational programmes that are carried out by UAE humanitarian organisations abroad, two million books to provide knowledge and science at refugee camps and another two million books for libraries in 2,000 schools in the Arab and Islamic world.

In previous years, the UAE launched campaigns to feed the hungry, quench the thirst of the thirsty and now it is nurturing the mind and the soul during the month of Ramadan.

Shaikh Mohammad called on businessmen, private and public institutions to be socially responsible and contribute to the campaign, on his account on Twitter. “We invite businessmen, public and private institutions to join us in shining a beacon of hope from the UAE,” he said.

He added that the campaign will continue until the 19th day of Ramadan, which “coincides with Zayed Humanitarian Day. We will definitely reap the fruits of the efforts made by our founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and gain the science and knowledge necessary for the progress of our country and the world.

“In some countries, 30 children share one book only. Therefore, our religious and civilisational responsibility is to support those seeking knowledge wherever they are,” he tweeted.

He also said “our religion encourages us to seek knowledge that paves the way towards building civilisations. Books do, indeed, facilitate people’s journey to enlightenment and help secure a prosperous future.”

People can donate through sending SMS messages, from both du and etisalat, or by wiring money to specific bank accounts, donate online through the campaign’s website or at donation platforms at various malls.

People can also write personal messages to children in refugee camps and other underprivileged students in beneficiary countries at the platforms at the malls.

There are also donation packages for companies, institutions and organisations, ranging from corporate donations between Dh500,000 and Dh10 million.

For more information visit http://www.readingnation.ae/?lang=en

People who would like to volunteer to help with the campaign can do so through Dubai Cares.

Shaikh Mohammad said, “We aim to realise the first message from the heavens to earth … the message ‘read’ with 5 million books — god’s willing — in Ramadan,”

“The first verse of the Quran was ‘read’ and was revealed in the month of Ramadan. What better way to get closer to God in this holy month than by applying the word ‘read’ by distributing 5 million books,” he said.

Adding that the fastest way to end poverty is to eliminate ignorance, he said, “The UAE is transitioning from feeding the hungry and quenching thirst, to nurturing the mind and the soul.”

Every Ramadan, he tweeted, the UAE gains the attention of millions of people globally for its enlightening efforts and campaigns that help build their future.

The UAE Ministry of Education will organise activities to encourage students to donate books to the campaign.

Donations to the campaign, via Emirates Red Crescent and Dubai Cares, can be made at many locations across the UAE.

Based on the directives of Shaikh Mohammad a committee to oversee this year’s Ramadan campaign was established, comprising a number of government entities, media organisations, and national and humanitarian organisations across the UAE.

The committee held its first meeting under the chairmanship of Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Secretary-General of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future.

Al Gergawi said, “The directives of the UAE President and Vice-President to make 2016 the Year of Reading will reflect positively on the Arab and Islamic worlds.

“Around 10,000 schools in the Arab world do not have student libraries. There are also millions of refugee children left without any educational programmes or schoolbooks. Through this campaign, we will attempt to bridge a part of this knowledge gap.”

How to donate:

Emirates Red Crescent and Dubai Cares will also receive donations through their bank accounts, branch locations, and donation kiosks across the country.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Account Name: Dubai Cares

Account Number: 18167744

IBAN: AE830500000000018167744

Swift Code: ABDIAEAD

Dubai Islamic Bank

Account Name: Dubai Cares

Account Number: 001520347474701

IBAN: AE170240001520347474701

Swift Code: DUIBAEAD

Sharjah Islamic Bank

Account Name: Dubai Cares

Account Number: 0047477771001

IBAN: AE850410000047477771001

Swift Code: NBSHAEAS

Emirates Islamic

Account Name: Dubai Cares

Account Number: 0380512466001

IBAN: AE060340000380512466001

Swift Code: MEBLAEAD

Donate online through Dubai Cares website — http://www.dubaicares.ae/en/donation

The UAE Ministry of Education will organise events and activities to encourage students to donate books in schools.

Dedicated platforms and kiosks will be set up in shopping malls across the country.