7-year-old Syrian missile survivor is Arab Reading Champion

Seven-year-old Sham Al Bakour from Syria stole the show with her shocking life story….reports Asian Lite News

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Thursday crowned the Arab Reading Champion at the final ceremony of the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge in Dubai.

The ceremony was held at Dubai Opera in front of an audience of more than 2,000, which included 360 national and community champions.

Sheikh Mohammed honoured Sham Al Bakour from Syria as the winner of the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge, after being selected from among 22.27 million students, the highest number of participants ever registered in a single edition of the Challenge since its inception.

The seven-year-old champion, the youngest ever, stole the show with her riveting life story, according to Gulf News.

As the girl’s mother Manal Iter said in a video ahead of the presentation, “Sham herself is a story.”

It turns out that Sham lost her father after the car exploded in a missile strike in war-torn Syria’s Aleppo in December 2015, when she was just six months old. She also sustained injuries with shards of broken glass in her head but survived along with her mother, the Gulf News reported.

The born winner wowed audiences as the video went on to show how she literally rose from the rubble, became an avid reader at an early age and defeated 61,000 participants to represent Syria in the reading challenge, it was reported.

Sheikh Mohammed highlighted that civilisation begins with enlightenment, and reading enlightens the mind and the path towards a better future for Arab generations.

He said, “Our precious Arabic language is in the safe hands of the millions of Arab students and the thousands of volunteers that spare no effort to make this Arab literacy initiative a success.”

Sheikh Mohammed expressed his confidence in the ability of future generations to preserve the Arabic language. He said, “The Arab Reading Challenge succeeded in creating the largest knowledge movement in our Arab world. The Arabic book has been taken off the shelf, and put in the hands of our youth, to inspire hearts and minds and light up the path.”

He noted, “The Arab Reading Challenge is the greatest gift the UAE could present to the millions of Arab youth, because reading is the key to the future.”

Acknowledging the efforts of all the participants and supporters, he said, “I am grateful to the Ministries of Education throughout the Arab countries, and the thousands of supervisors, and millions of Arab students, for their unique contribution to this unprecedented literacy movement.”

The ceremony also included a video of milestones from previous editions of the Arab Reading Challenge, as well as songs titled ‘Al Qeraya Nour’ by Abu, and ‘Iqra’ by Mohammed Assaf.

A video clip shared by Mariam Amjoun, the Moroccan champion of the third edition of Arab Reading Challenge, was played during the final ceremony. The video featured an inspirational message urging students to participate in future editions of the Arab Reading Challenge.

A video of the youngest champions in the latest edition was also played at the ceremony. Sham Al Bakour, the seven-year-old Syrian national champion, won the title after participating in the Challenge’s sixth edition for the first time.

Arab Reading Champions

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed honoured the national winners from across the Arab world for the exceptional achievement. Sham Al Bakour from Syria, who was crowned the Arab Reading Champion, was awarded a prize of AED1,000,000 following the final qualification stage.

Adam Al Qassimi from Tunisia came in second place, and Rashid Al Khatib from Jordan ranked third, receiving a prize of AED100,000, and AED70,000 respectively.

Community Champions

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed honoured the community champions from 26 non-Arab countries. The Community Champion Award went to Nada Al Satri from Belgium, with a prize of AED100,000.

Marwa Al Bakri from Spain won second place, taking home a prize of AED70,000, while Nadia Al Bahnasi from Austria won third place, taking home a prize of AED30,000.

Best School

The Al Mokhtar Gazoulit School from Morocco won the Best School Award and a prize of AED1 million, out of more than 92,000 schools that participated in the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge. More than 28,000 schools from Egypt; 24,000 schools from Saudi Arabia; 15,000 schools from Algeria; 10,000 schools from Morocco; 5,000 schools from Tunisia; and 4,000 schools from Jordan participated in the sixth edition of the Challenge.

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