KARACHI: Storytelling, theatre, art, music and books were just some of the offerings at the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) that opened on Friday at the Dawood Public School where children belonging to different schools in the city came together to indulge their creative sides with a bit of fun included.
With a vision to get children to view books from a broader perspective than just in academic terms, the CLF tried to promote the message that learning and reading can be fun.
The first day of the CLF had a packed schedule with book launches by renowned authors, panel discussions, poetry and music sessions, as well as stage productions that kept the children engaged despite the blistering heat.
One of the highlights of the first day included a presentation titled ‘Save, spend, share: the art of wealth management’ in which young children were given a lesson on how to manage their money.
From teaching them how to save, and effectively spend money, another lesson the presentation aimed to communicate was sharing. One of the activities at the session was of making money boxes with the help of other children and thus promoting the value of teamwork and cooperation.
CLF co-founder and Oxford University Press managing director Ameena Saiyid shared with Dawn the efforts the team puts in before each festival, organised every few months in different cities of the country.
“We try to physically visit as many schools as we can, and also provide plenty of information through flyers, email as well as organise a press conference. However, credit must also be given to the secretary of education who has helped us to involve several government schools to be part of the festival.”
There were several installations put up by children of the Dawood Public School and at each, a team of students was present and prepared to give details about the project.
One ingenious project was a makeshift greenhouse constructed with the aid of recycled materials.
Instead of using clear glass panels, the project recycled plastic bottles that trap the heat and make the inside conducive enough to grow plants. The students also shared how the construction was not suited to Karachi’s weather but could be used more successfully in the northern areas of the country which are much cooler.
Apart from different book stalls, there were science projects being displayed, children singing songs and sharing tales, as well as a medical station where children took part in informative activities such as selecting the foods that they consider healthy and unhealthy. Such varied activities kept the children engaged throughout the day.
The schedule at the CLF was framed also keeping in mind parents and teachers. Several sessions were dedicated to improving and enhancing education across the country in terms of quality and quantity, teaching teachers how to harness the power of books and also addressing pertinent issues such as book piracy.
The day ended with a musical performance by Zoe Viccaji.
The Children’s Literature Festival will be held on Saturday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2016