Two-day Children’s Literature Festival comes to Peshawar

The two-day 63rd Children’s Literature Festival (CLF), the largest learning festival for children and teachers in Pakistan, a flagship program of civil society organization Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), will be held on December 10-11, 2019 at two well-known locations in Peshawar – Nishtar Hall and Peshawar Museum.

The event, being co-hosted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Department of Culture, will be held in collaboration with provincial departments of Tourism, Youth & Sports and the Elementary & Secondary Education. The festival will be open to all from 9am to 4pm on both the days. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Tourism, Culture, Sports, Archaeology and Youth Affairs Atif Khan will inaugurate the two-day event on Tuesday, December 10. The Elementary & Secondary Education Department is a CLF partner for mobilization of schools from Peshawar and KP.

The beautiful poster for CLF Peshawar 2019 has been designed by Fauzia Minallah, children’s author, artist and child rights and environmental activist. The festival will bring together prominent celebrities, writers, poets, musicians and actors, including Khaled Anam, Abaseen Yousafzai, Zubair Torwali, Kalsoom Zeb, Khumariyaan the band, Ali Baba, Farooq Qaiser, Ameena Saiyid, Baela Raza Jamil,  Rumana Husain, Raheela Baqai, Batool Nasir, Atif Badar, Sarwat Mohiuddin, Azra Raza, Rashida Faheem,  Syed Nusrat Ali, Khurshid Khan and Nadia Sarwar. As each CLF is embedded in local context, diversity of resources and talent from the KP region, many young and seasoned resource persons will share their expertise through various interactive activities and workshops in regional languages making the event meaningful. Cultural diversity will be at the centre of CLF Peshawar 2019 as children from Kalash Valley will delight the audience with the famous Ranat dance.  

The Nishtar Hall and Peshawar Museum venues hold importance as entertainment and heritage sites and will resonate with the energies of children, making them an ideal place for literary, cultural, historic and creative inspiration to flourish. The main event will be held at Nishtar Hall where two halls have been named after Rehman Baba and Zarsanga to pay them a rich tribute. CLF Kitab Gari, a mobile rickshaw library having over 600 storybooks, the Pakistan Reading Project (PRP) mobile van, Cinema Ghar, arts & crafts, and digital learning tools will serve as a reading corner as part of the wide array of activities at the festival. To inculcate the passion for scientific learning, a special corner will be designated as A.Q Khan Lab engaging children with scientific experiments, astronomy, robotics workshops and chemistry experiments. Buses will be available throughout the two days to carry children and teachers to the Peshawar Museum, with proper guides. 

At least 50 sessions have been planned for CLF Peshawar with over 40 resource persons participating in varied activities aimed at the learning of children. The two-day event has 16 learning strands, including storytelling with expression and music, creative writing, poetry, Uncle Sargam’s show, book launches, art of book making, STEM workshops, digital and 3D activities, robotics, theatre workshops, Cinema Ghar, Bol Ke Lab Azaad Hain Teray, child protection and mental health, arts and crafts workshops, and plenaries on subjects such as multilingualism and critical thinking in children’s literature, heritage and safe internet.

The first day will commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 30 years of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC: 1989-2019). A special installation curated by ITA team ‘Celebrating 30 years of CRC’ highlighting the rights of children and CRC articles though intricate art work on hands and a ladder of rights will also be displayed.

To inculcate activism for Climate Change and Gender Justice, a march will be carried out by students at the Peshawar Museum. There will be a book fair, interactive stalls, science activities and board games to attract the children. The first day of the festival will close with a concert by Khumariyaan the band.

The Peshawar CLF has the following sponsors; the Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, The Bank of Khyber, Telenor Pakistan, Open Society Foundations (OSF), Human Development Fund (HDF), Sight Savers and ITA.  

CLF is a social movement founded by Baela Raza Jamil of ITA and co-founded by Ameena Saiyid of Adab Festival in collaboration with a number of private and public organizations. CLF is the first national level largest learning festival with an outreach across Pakistan. The goal of CLF is to introduce and expand a culture of reading for creativity, imagination and multi-sensory stimulation beyond textbooks.

The CLF is an equalizer, reaching all school systems of Pakistan without discrimination and popularizing local languages, heritage, culture, STEM and contemporary subjects through 16 major strands. The CLF has a nationwide footprint, having completed 62 CLFs to date in all four provincial capitals, Islamabad and over 25 districts of the country, reaching 1.6 million children and teachers since its inception in November, 2011 through its events and publications.

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