ISLAMABAD: The first ever online Children’s Learning Festival concluded on Thursday after three days of sessions with hundreds of participating children.
The event was organised by the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF), a nationwide programme by civil society organisation Idara-i-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) to mark Pakistan’s 73rd Independence Day.
The event was held online and streamed on CLF’s social media accounts. According to organisers, it saw a wide array of online sessions and activities by partner organisations, CLF advisers, goodwill ambassadors, resource persons and children.
The festival aimed to provide an equalising platform to promote diverse and innovative means of learning, as children face school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release, hundreds of children from all over the country participated in the sessions and thousands watched them live.
There were around 30 sessions held as part of the festival, from storytelling to puppet theatre, book launches, the open mic session ‘Bol Ke Lab Azad Hain Teray’, Cinema Ghar, Dastan Goi, bookmaking, maths and science activities, arts and crafts and a conversation with the winners of the CLF Young Author Award.
There were also discussions on topics concerning child protection during the pandemic, safe internet use and promoting love for literature.
Educationist Dr Arfa Sayeda Zehra and poet Amjad Aslam Amjad appeared as special guests and interacted with the children.
The festival had a special tribute to Sindhi Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai with a rendition of his baits on love, compassion, care and oneness by CLF advisor Mahtab Akbar Rashdi.
There was also a revival of music stalwart Sohail Rana’s songs by Pakistan’s first Dhrupad singer Aliya Rasheed and the Sanjan Nagar School choir, and a rendition of poet Ismail Merathi’s poem ‘Barsaat’ by musicians Ali Hamza, Rakae Jamil and Kami Paul.
The event also featured a session on Hunza folktales and folk music, and another on storytelling in Sindhi and Punjabi languages.
It included engaging interludes by storyteller and illustrator Abdal Mufti and classical dancer Bina Jawad, as well as storytelling videos with interpretation in Pakistan Sign Language.
“This is the first time in Pakistan that the CLF was conducted online and the massive response speaks volumes of the success of this venture,” said ITA CEO and CLF founder Baela Raza Jamil.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2020