Sharjah: Sharjah-based ‘Knowledge without Borders’ (KwB) has launched a new initiative for inmates titled ‘Book in Your Arms’ to extend access to books across the prison system.
It also seeks creating opportunities for incarcerated people to interact with authors and the literary community through a series of cultural sessions, in partnership with the Sharjah Police Punishment and Correctional Institution Department. The initiative is in line with the 2016 National Literacy Strategy, which aims “to produce generations of readers in the UAE, and establish the nation as the capital of knowledge and culture”.
‘Book in Your Arms’ initiative was launched recently with a session titled ‘Self-reconciliation’ hosted at the House of Wisdom. Nine female and male attendees heard from Dr Suaad Al Shamsi and Waheeb Al Kamali, author and personal development expert, who discussed their works with the attendees and also offered them signed copies of their books.
Mariam Al Hammadi, manager of KwB, said: “Our activities are aimed at encouraging the wonderful habit of reading in all segments of the community, without exception. This time, we wanted to extend this opportunity to the prison inmates for whom the chances to access books and literature for personal growth are rare. These sessions will host a group of intellectuals, authors and experts who will help inmates advance their skills and expertise, encourage them to read more, and highlight the importance of books and knowledge in achieving the nations’ goals and ambitions.”
Path to integration
She added: “The first session, held in cooperation with the Sharjah Police Punishment and Correctional Institution Department, was aimed at educating the inmates about the benefits of acquiring knowledge, encouraging them to read for the positive effect it has on their overall wellbeing, as well as putting them on a path that will hopefully lead them into societal integration and function as productive members of society.”
Value of reading
Brigadier General Ahmad Abdul Aziz Shuhail, Director-General, of the Sharjah Police Punishment and Correctional Institution Department, said: “The partnership with KwB is aimed at highlighting the social value of reading for inmates, as well as guiding them towards investing time in beneficial activities that will help build a safe, active community.”
He added: “This initiative is in line with our shared vision and common goals to advance the reading skills and knowledge of our inmates, as we aim to impact their wellbeing, and ease their rehabilitation process to becoming law-abiding residents of the UAE.”
Future sessions include ‘My journey to the top’, with the participation of Dr Abdullah Al Darmaki, member of Sharjah Consultative Council; ‘Things we do not pay attention to’ and ‘The art of standing up’. A mobile library, offering a wide range of titles and topics for the inmates to choose from, will be stationed at the location during the sessions.