The benefits that children receive when they give up their time for their communities is a concept that will form a major component of this year’s Sharjah Arab Children’s Forum (SACF), which takes place from March 28 until April 3 at Al Rigga Children Centre, Sharjah.
The advantages of fostering volunteerism in youngsters are being explored in a series of workshops held by a number of non-profit organisations at SACF 2016, the first time that such an initiative has taken place during the 12-edition history of the forum.
Held under the slogan ‘Hear us - we are the Future,’ SACF 2016, a major platform for youth development organised by the Sharjah Children Centres - a subsidiary of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs – will invite children participating to discover the personal development benefits that dedicating their time to their communities brings.
Speaking about SACF’s new programme, Reem BinKaram, Director of the Sharjah Children Centres, said: “Nurturing children’s sense of responsibility towards their communities is one of the main objectives that the forum is aiming to achieve. We have organised a set of activities to do just that, the most significant being the non-profit organisations’ programme, which is being held at the Forum for the first time.”
SACF’s inaugural series of workshops has been established in conjunction the non-profit organisations to play a crucial role in developing children's personalities. The programme aims to enrich their experiences and familiarise them with the importance of
community engagement, voluntary work and individual and corporate social responsibility.
BinKaram added, “This activity will highlight the prominent roles played non-profit organisations and the initiatives they undertake to develop their communities. For one whole day the programme will strengthen and instil leadership and social innovation skills in the hearts and souls of Arab children participating. It will provide them with an interactive and safe environment to learn about basic human relationships and the ability to deal with various social challenges.”
“During the workshops the children will meet first-hand the companies involved and get to understand their respective missions, thereby instilling within them the values of volunteerism. The programme will strengthen the participants’ inter-communication abilities and facilitate a healthy exchange of experiences, enabling them to transfer the values and creative skills they have acquired to their own countries,” she added.
“The workshops highlight the importance of community engagement, voluntary work and individual and corporate social responsibility and it is essential to impart this to children as they are the driving force and the key to a nation’s strength, success, sustainability and prosperity,” BinKaram continued.
Nine government bodies, private institutions and charity organisations are participating in the non-profit organisations’ programme, including; Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Environment Company (Bee'ah), Sharjah Economic Development Department, Sharjah Social Services Department, The Big Heart Foundation, Friends of Cancer Patients (‘Ana’ initiative), Department of Health Education and Promotion and Care Direct Company.
Sharjah will host SACF from March 28 to April 3, bringing together more than 120 Arab children aged 8-12 years who have been selected to participate from more than 10 Arab countries.