The Children’s Literary Festival drew in a host of children on Thursday at the Race Course Park. The small enclosure was overrun by children from many government educational institutions.
The event was held in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation, the Idara Taleem-o-Agahi and the Oxford University Press.
The event started at 1pm. It had various activities to boost confidence among young children.
The first event was titled: Bol Keh Lab Azad Hain Tairay (Speak, for thy lips are free). The children were encouraged to come forward and sing poems and songs. Most of the kids just wanted a chance to speak in the microphone. Six-year-old Bisma Zulfiqar recited the poem Incy Wincy Spider and made gestures to go with each line.
Some were shy like Muhammad Ehtesham, 11, who refused to take the stage although, he said, he knew the poem, Butterfly, by heart.
A session titled: Mein Changa Tay Qabil Aan (I am good and capable) encouraged children to talk about their emotions, especially anger and frustration. The children were given a piece of paper and asked to draw, write or think about an incident which had made them angry in the past. Then, in a symbolic act of letting go of their anger, they were asked to fold the piece of paper and put it in a plastic bag.
This was followed by a story telling the kids that they must always be kind to others and refrain from hurting others.
There were other activities as well including face painting and storytelling. There was a large white sheet on which the children painted various things.
Jashn-i-Rang is an annual festival organised by the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA). Activities and stalls at the festival not only cater to children but also appeal to many adults. They include trampolines, merry-go-rounds and stalls selling clothes, bags and food. This year there are camel rides as well. The festival will continue till April 5.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2015.