Kids Read honoured World Environment Day with an interactive community event for 70 children aged two to ten and their parents at Geitawi public library. Held annually on 5 June, World Environment Day aims to become the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action.
This year’s theme is the Green Economy. Kids Read, a programme sponsored solely by HSBC Bank Middle East, highlighted its importance through books about the preservation of nature. HSBC has a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment and believes it is fundamental to a thriving society and a sound economy.
Designed to encourage children to read for pleasure, Kids Read is a free event for families and the community. Additionally, booklets were distributed to parents to teach them how to inspire their children to read and to help parents and children bond through books.
During the story-telling section of the event, HSBC Volunteers trained by the British Council read a number of books on the environment, including Dear Greenpeace and Whole World, to children to stimulate their interest in reading and foster a sense of responsibility towards saving the planet. After the story-telling, children participated in songs and arts and crafts sessions pertaining to the Green Economy theme.
A prize giving ceremony at the end of the day honored the winners of the individual Kids Read storytelling competition which has run in 10 primary schools in Lebanon this year. Fa’iqa Ajam from Omar Bin Al Kattab School won first prize, second prize went to Yara Sawli of Shiah First Public School and third prize went to Sara Orfali of Ali Bin Abi Taleb School. The winners were awarded with book tokens so that they can continue to pursue their love of reading. English teachers and representatives from the winning schools also attended the event. All children were presented with goody bags that included the British Council LearnEnglish Kids CDROMs, a free website that contains stories and songs in English.
Barbara Hewitt, Director British Council Lebanon, said: “An interest in reading is a vital life skill for children, and the widespread interest in environmental issues makes World Environment Day an excellent opportunity to promote reading. Young people today are rightly aware of the need to protect the environment, as was evident in the crafts they produced. We are pleased that the subject had such enormous appeal as part of the Kids Read project.”
Francois-Pascal de Maricourt, CEO of HSBC Bank Lebanon, said: “Lebanon has one of the most beautiful climates in the Middle East, with water and forests as natural assets; yet, these require protection. By partnering with the British Council and supporting the Kids Read programme, our aim is to educate children living in Lebanon on the importance of a sustainable environment and make it fun through reading and activities related to environmental issues.”
Working together with Ministries of Education, HSBC Bank Middle East and the British Council aim to reach more than 25,000 children across 13 countries in the MENA region. The programme involves a variety of school activities alongside public story-telling events, initially for one academic year.