In the shadow of the ongoing conflicts in our region and around the world, each of us is faced with the question: how can we help to alleviate the suffering of those affected, especially children? This question was the catalyst for the establishment of the Kalimat Foundation in 2016. Our mission is fueled by a passion to provide a semblance of normality and joy through books, often the only Arabic reading material accessible to many children fleeing conflict zones and living far away from home for an extended period of time. Our commitment is based on a belief in the power of literature to provide refuge, hope and a window to a vast world of knowledge and imagination, even in the most challenging circumstances.
Our mission is to ensure that every Arab child can exercise their right to read and have access to books. To achieve this ambitious goal, we are actively seeking to expand our partnerships. Our collaboration with the renowned Emirati artist, Mohammed Al Mansoori, exemplifies our commitment to fostering creativity in pursuit of our mission. Al Mansoori’s distinctive designs for merchandise will not only contribute to our cause but also help make literature accessible to all children.
The agreement with Majid Al Futtaim further amplifies this initiative by enabling the establishment of libraries with Arabic books in various locations. This will ensure that children have access to empowering literature. This partnership not only emphasizes the Foundation’s commitment to promoting a culture of reading, but also shows that working together in communities can make a big difference.
These partnerships directly support the Kalimat Foundation’s “Pledge a Library” initiative. This initiative is critical to providing book collections to forcibly displaced children living in disadvantaged communities in various regions, including the Middle East, Europe, South America, and parts of Africa. By providing compact libraries of 100 titles each in Arabic, the initiative has made great progress, distributing over 16,700 books in 24 countries and reaching more than 100,000 children. We carefully select recipients based on the needs of young people, their reading abilities and the potential benefits of KF contributions to ensure that the libraries have a meaningful impact in refugee camps, community centers, schools, universities, public libraries, hospitals and NGOs around the world.
Another KF initiative that has received support is the ‘Ara’ initiative, which was recently honored with a ‘Special Commendation Award’ by the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC). This prestigious recognition acknowledges the efforts of the ‘Ara’ initiative in producing accessible Arabic content for blind and visually impaired children and serves as a testament to KF’s commitment to fulfilling its vision of using knowledge to empower individuals and societies.
Our achievements at the Kalimat Foundation would not have been possible without the generous support and commitment of our outgoing Board members. Their dedication has been instrumental in paving the way for meaningful impact, and to each one, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for their service. As we welcome a new board, we are invigorated by the prospect of expanding our reach and deepening our impact. Together, we are committed to launching more initiatives to positively change the lives of displaced and disadvantaged children through access to knowledge and a world of transformative ideas.