Writers, teachers, artists and over 1,500 students participated in a day long Children’s Literature Festival held at the Sanjan Nagar School on Friday. Students from four nearby schools in the Youhannabad area also attended the event.
The event was inspired by a series of nine Children’s Literature Festivals organised across the country by the Idara-i-Taleem Aagahi and the Oxford University Press (OUP) in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation. The organisers claimed that it was the first school-based festival.
Pratham India co-founder Farida Lambey and SUN & SEAM Energy CEO Imran Bajwa inaugurated the festival.
“Our primary objective was to bring together authors, teachers and students on a single platform. Collectively, they can contribute to the learning and development of children”, Sanjan Nagar School Principal Raheela Akram told The Express Tribune.
Akram said the success of the event would help initiatives for holding similar festivals at other schools as well. She said school-based festivals encouraged enrollment and attendance at schools.
The Citizens’ Archive of Pakistan held cultural presentations for children and the Discovering New Artists group conducted creative writing sessions for them. Educationists, writers and prominent personalities including Dr Arfa Syeda Zehra, Rafay Rahman Jamil, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Saima Asghar Riaz, Sadaf Naeem, Khaqan Haider, Nadia Jamil, Waseem Alam and Syed Waseem Alam participated in sessions through out the day. Story-telling sessions by Musharraf Ali Farooqi and Nadia Jamil attracted an especially large audience. The Alif Laila Book Bus Society and the OUP mobile libraries were also present at the festival.
Akram said the sessions had received an overwhelming feedback from children, particularly the story telling sessions. “This is our first attempt at hosting such a festival in our school… from now on, we hope to hold similar festivals every year”, she added.
The Little Art, Google Pakistan, the Lahore Waste Management Company and the National Book Foundation were also present.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2014.