Children’s Literature Festival is a social movement founded by Baela Raza Jamil of Idara-e-Taleem-O-Aagahi (ITA) and co-founded by Ameena Saiyid of the Oxford University Press in collaboration with several private and public organizations. Today it is a not for profit independent Section 42 Company with 6 directors and a company secretary. CLF is the first ever national level systematic movement of its kind that has an outreach presence across Pakistan.
CLF’s goal is to expand the culture of reading for creativity, imagination and multi-sensory stimulation beyond textbooks and tests. In other words, it provides a unique platform that drives the interest of children towards the joy of reading, self-expression and critical thinking. It is a social movement, triggered by low learning levels confined to just textbooks and tests.
CLF encourages children to read, teachers and schools to adopt innovative reading/learning methodologies encouraging critical thinking and empowering children as learners. CLF generates positive social capital creating networks and associations for the purpose of ‘unlocking the power of reading.’ Till date, 21 Children’s Literature Festival s have been held all across the country including Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Bahawalpur, Peshawar, Swat, Quetta, Sahiwal, Multan and 5 Teachers’ Literature Festival which has become a regular feature before every mega CLF to embed the culture of reading and creativity in classrooms and schools.
CLF began in 2011 as a counter narrative to the shocking findings of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan www.aserpakistan.org which year after year has revealed that almost 50% of children in grade 5 cannot not do simple reading and numeracy pegged at grade 2/3 level competencies. To popularize reading and expression without the fear of textbooks and tests the children’s literature festival (CLF) was conceived as part of a ‘think big’ session held in Lahore in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) as a winning idea. www.childrensliteraturefestival.com
The Children’s Literature Festival was founded in collaboration with like-minded stakeholders including publishers, government, CSOs and corporate partners to explore large public spaces for learning. CLF is an Equalizer and enables children from all school systems to explore the world of expression, reading and imagination beyond textbooks. CLF is open to all children from all segments and school systems as well as their teachers and parents for an experience to remember and emulate when they go back to their schools and homes. CLF has reached the level of popularity through support of eminent authors, poets, artists, actors, musicians, trainers etc. who have given their time free of cost in the spirit of ‘giving back to society’. To date over 200 such celebrities/institutions of all ages have joined hands with CLF.
In 2013 CLF began its series of publications , the bi-monthly magazine Uran Tashtaree (Flying Saucer) edited by prominent author Amra Alam and books for children by Rumana Husain and Fauzia Minallah. In the coming years young child authors’ works will be published as well through the CLF platform. These books can be printed in multiple languages including Sindhi /Pashto /English etc.
In four years CLF has reached over 400,000 children /teachers, each time going beyond planned targets as a non-gated event to allow access in an organized manner to large number of schools and public. Each session is sensitive to the principles of inclusion, local languages and participation of ALL children. The success encountered has led to its documentation as a ‘best practice/innovation’ at local and global levels http://www.educationinnovations.org/program/childrens-literature-festival-clf
Less than 18 months into the movement, it was decided to boldly elevate CLF as a registered body with eminent directors who have made CLF successful. Its registration with the SECP as a not for profit Section 42 Company is finalized making it an independent institutionalized entity for sustainability and future growth.
Children’s Literature Festival works in five diversified but relevant domains:
Systematic tools and procedures are other key milestones for smooth execution and substance of quality in not only sustaining CLF but also making an impact as captured by good media coverage. In consultation with ASER specialists, authors, creative individuals/ groups, CSOs multiple concurrent strands were designed which address children interests in learning as a multi-sensory/multiple –intelligences experience. The resultant activities revitalize children’s inclination towards books, creativity and critical thinking. The concurrent strands designed for large audiences are as follows:
|Fourteen Concurrent Strands of CLF: Catering for Large Numbers|
|Read & Sing Aloud Stories and Songs|
|Theatre and Skits|
|Workshops on How to Illustrate a Book, Creative Writing & Expression|
|Digital Stories – ICTs; Workshops on Comics Production|
|Sessions on: Mother Tongue, Critical Thinking, Textbooks & Curriculum, Inclusive Learning|
|Reclaiming Heritage & Diversity – Museums & Workshops|
|Puppet shows and cartoons|
|Multi-experience stalls Alif Laila Thousand & One Arabian Nights and others|
|Bol Key Lab Azaad Hain Terey – speak for your lips are free|
|Open Competition for Children in Prose & Poetry -any local language|
|Mural & Art Sessions– Mehergarh Studio & Funkor Art|
|Book Fair & Learning Stalls of NGOs/Local Partners|
Children’s Literature Festival takes pride in the fact that it is an EQUALIZER open to children from ALL backgrounds. Children’s Literature Festival has been very boldly held in conflict areas as well like Quetta, Peshawar and Swat where there has been an overwhelming response. Due to the growing popularity of the festival and the fact that in each CLF, thousands of children/teachers/parents participate, it has also been called a ‘learning and healing festival.
For further information, please contact: Varda Nisar, Project Coordinator
Children’s Literature Festival Secretariat, Flat No. 204, Dossal Arcade, Jinah Avenue Blue Area Islamabad
Cell: (92) (300) 8541130
CLF facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/clfpk/