UNESCO’s visit to IBBY Palestine

Tuesday 22 February 2022 by Rania

UNESCO Delegation Visit to the Library of IBBY Palestine in Gaza
Handing Khitam her prize for winning UNESCO’s "World Tales" competition

Giovanni SCEPI Head of the Culture Unit at UNESCO Palestine, and Youssef Al-Ejla, Head of UNESCO Office visited PBBY Shawka give Khitam al-Hissi the laureate in UNESCO ISF "World Tales" her Award.
The visit also aimed to learn about the library’s activities, many children recited poetry they wrote or by Palestinian poets. An interesting discussion took place between them and the delegation about the library’s various activities, including writing, drawing, drama, and others.
Mahmoud the librarian spoke about the nature of al Shawka Area and about the importance of the library, being the only one in the area. The children consider it as their second home. Abla the librarian of Al-Ata’a spoke about the beginnings of the library’s existence in the Beit Hanoun area and its importance for children. The two speakers stressed the importance of the presence of the International Board on Books for Young People in these areas, and the new vital life that the two libraries gave to children.
Before the award was handed over, Khitam spoke about her childhood and how she joined the library when she was five years old. She narrated her story and explained what motivated her to write it. Khitam concluded by passionately expressing her desire to become a successful and well-known writer.

Khitam told her story in Arabic :

Khitam spoke about her childhood, love of writing and joy with the Award
I am a girl from Al-Shawka area, and South of Rafah city in the Gaza Strip. Since I was young, I have gone to the library with my sister, Marah. I was five years old when I first visited the library, when I saw this world I loved it and considered it to be my second home. I loved it very much. I grew in the spirit of culture and writing. I loved to try writing, so I wrote a lot. I did not stop at any attempt. I insisted on continuing to write and strengthen my writing.
I am an ambitious child. I love to try and keep trying to reach what I want and to be a writer. When they told me about my success, I was very happy. It was a beautiful joy. The world did not contain me my joy; I could not give my joy to anyone. It was joy inside my heart. The whole world could not contain the joy in my heart. When I received the financial award from PBBY my joy grew bigger and bigger as I saw everyone interested in me and encouraging me to be one of the successful.
When they told me about the visit of the UNESCO delegation, this was the greatest joy. I felt that the whole world was before me, and in my heart and mind, I was happy, this interest encouraged me more and more to write and to continue insisting on creativity and progress, in order to be a writer of short stories and novels and a famous writer in the near future.
I extend my thanks and attribute this success to JH who is the one who sent my story and message to this competition and sent my voice to the world.

What Giovanni Scepi told Khitam and the children*:

I am so glad to be here today, not only for education, one of UNESCO’s main missions, but also for the wonderful messages being among dreamers and creative people who want to see a bright future, and work hard to see this bright and prosperous future. The Award is only to encourage you to continue writing you, your colleagues and friends the children. I encourage you the children of the library to be like Khitam able to express yourselves with confidence and clarity to fulfil your dreams.

Khitam’s reply to Giovanni Scepi :

My wish for the future is to be a well-known and famous writer; accompanying this dream is to become a dentist. My wish to realize these two dreams started from my childhood; although I had the problem of Harelip when I was born, yet I overcame my condition.
I want to encourage the children with such condition to be strong. I want to show the world that I am very strong and I want to fulfil my dreams!



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