122,000 Visitors Gather For Over 1,300 Hours Of Immersive Edutainment At Sharjah’s SCRF 2023
The curtains have drawn to a close on the 14th edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF). The Expo Centre Sharjah was transformed into a platform of creativity, arts, and culture, providing over 1,300 hours of educational activities for more than 122,000 visitors, including children, youth, parents, students, artists, and writers. SCRF's theme of "Train your Brain'' enabled visitors of all ages to embark on a 12-day journey of discovery, exploring new worlds of imagination and learning.
Aligned with the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah and under the direction of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, SCRF 2023, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) embodied Sharjah's objective of empowering future generations, honing their skills, and unleashing their potential. With a wide range of activities, panel discussions, and workshops in arts, sports, technology, illustration, and music, the festival offered a rich and diverse program designed to inspire, entertain, and educate.
H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah has taken concrete steps to further SCRF's efforts in promoting children's literature. In a generous gesture, he has allocated AED 2.5 million towards the purchasing of books from publishers participating in the festival, cementing SCRF's commitment to fostering a love for reading and learning among the youth.
The festival hosted 141 publishers from around the world and 457 guests from 66 countries who delivered an impressive 1,732 engaging workshops and sessions showcasing their latest works in the children's literary scene. SCRF 2023 has proven to be a resounding success, demonstrating the power of literature in shaping young minds and providing a platform for creative expression and cultural exchange.
Supporting the book distribution sector.
The conference provided a platform for frank discussions on the realities of the book distribution ecosystem, as well as an opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together and chart a path forward in this dynamic industry. With so many accomplished distributors in attendance, the event was a prime venue for the sharing of best practices, as well as an occasion for networking and forging new partnerships.
SCRF creates a long lasting impact for the nation and region.
In this context, Al Mujaini emphasised that SCRF has established itself as an event that brings together all those concerned with children, their culture, and knowledge. The festival, she notes, is a platform for generating new ideas and mechanisms to raise children's awareness and channel their energies. Indeed, SCRF reflects the Sharjah Book Authority's vision to promote everything that contributes to forming the minds and personalities of knowledge-hungry and inquisitive children.
Al Mujaini also underscored that the festival's activities are carefully designed to suit the interests of its visitors, to influence parents, and to encourage them to adopt a sustainable approach to raising their children's awareness and guiding them to sources that hone their talents throughout the year. “The festival's emphasis on a reading culture, which underpins its very name, is an ongoing task that everyone shares in adopting. This means not only encouraging reading books but also recognising children's interests and providing everything that enhances their love for various arts, sciences, and knowledge,” she stated.
An amazing programme of 946 children's activities.
Among the many highlights of the festival were the captivating performances of Masaka Kids Africana, a popular children's show with a substantial social media following. With a reputation for delivering inspiring and uplifting performances on stages worldwide, Masaka Kids Africana truly shone at SCRF. Their performances were a testament to the festival's commitment to promoting the arts and culture for young minds and inspiring the next generation of creatives.
Catering to diversity through shows featuring various cultures.
The cultural extravaganza also welcomed 68 distinguished guests from 21 countries, comprising a dynamic group of artists, writers, and creators who led engaging panel discussions tackling some of the most pressing issues confronting the world today. Attendees also had the opportunity to attend sessions aimed at developing communication skills for children, nurturing their creative and intellectual potential, and unleashing their innovative capabilities.
Local and international coverage.
Beyond the festival's immersive activities, esteemed institutions and government agencies were among those who contributed to the festival's resounding success. Collaborating with the Sharjah Book Authority, these entities organised exciting events, engaging reading sessions, and competitive activities that garnered widespread public interest and attendance. The festival's extensive reach was also felt through its coverage across numerous local, Arab, and international media platforms.