LAHORE: Expressing their feelings can help children in coping with sadness and loneliness, said A Patrice Khan while speaking at one of the sessions held on the second day of the Children’s Literary Festival.
Khan’s book When Nature Strikes focuses on ways in which children can learn to “survive and thrive”, as she put it, in situations where they are faced with distress. Khan talking at the launch said that children in disaster hit areas of Pakistan needed to be encouraged to “speak, draw or write” about their ordeal and experiences.
The puppet performance by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop stole the show, attracting hundreds of children. Another favourite was the Book Bus by Alif Laila Books Bus Society. Flocks of children visited the mobile library to read and take a look at the books.
Fauzia Minallah spoke on how books can teach children tolerance and respect for others. Children were shown slides in which religious and cultural tolerance was encouraged through illustrations based on Minallah’s book Amai.
Amai is a bird that teaches children how to respect others who look different from them. The bird takes children from one place to another and explains to them that they need to accept others for who they are.
On one of such journeys she points out a kid carrying a white stick and tells the children that the boy can’t see and that is why he is carrying the stick.
The second, and last, day of the festival featured over 20 activity sessions. Education Department’s Directorate of Staff Development also had a stall where guides and manuals for teacher training and development of curriculum were displayed. The Children’s Global Network Pakistan conducted a session where children were given tips about drawing and story writing.
‘Kahani time’ was a session where Sania Saeed, the television actor, introduced children to her grandmother who narrated ‘Pathar Ka Khargosh’.
Baela Raza Jamil, the programme director at Idara-i-Taleem-o-Aagahi, told The Express Tribune said the about 18,000 children and adults had taken part in the festival. “We had expected a turnout of 5,000,” she said, “so we are thrilled at the response and interest.” She said that students had come from as far as Turbat, Quetta and Peshawar in addition to Islamabad. “We have learnt a lot from this experience and surely hope to offer a lot more to children in the future,” Jamil said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2011.