As part of its goal to spread awareness of the importance of literacy and good reading habits, The Zubair Corporation has launched the ‘Ikra’ (Arabic word meaning ‘to Read’) initiative, which aims at establishing libraries in hospitals and other public buildings. The libraries will include a number of publications and book titles from Omani writers, and the initiative aims to provide a dual function of giving support to local writers while encouraging members of the public to develop good reading habits, and highlighting the importance of achieving good literacy skills throughout the community.
The Ikra program was officially launched at the Bait Al-Zubair Theater on Tuesday 17 February. Present at the launch was Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Zubair, Managing Director of The Zubair Corporation, and a number of Omani writers and prominent personalities drawn from the local literary scene, in addition to members of cultural institutions. The first public library will be opened at the Royal Hospital in Muscat in cooperation with hospital administration. Subsequently, three new libraries will be established in other hospitals in Muscat, to allow patients and hospital visitors to become familiar with a range of Omani publications and book titles.
Commenting on the importance of the initiative, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Zubair, Managing Director of The Zubair Corporation and the head of the Social Advisory Committee said, “This initiative is part of our strategy to implement meaningful community-based initiatives throughout Omani society. Achieving good levels of literacy by forming the habit of reading regularly is a lifetime skill for every member of the community, and the Social Advisory Committee have implemented this thoughtful program to make quality Omani publications and book titles readily available for hospital patients and visitors. Communicating with the society allows for the study of issues arising from the heart of the community by identifying its needs. The Zubair Corporation endeavors to engage the conscious Omani youth, who are aware of the needs of the community.”
Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Zubair added, “Ikra is one of number of initiatives to be launched this year. The committee will evaluate the ongoing success of this initiative, and plans to expand the Ikra program to other hospitals and public areas throughout the year. As for the long-term vision, the committee has a time frame to expand the initiative throughout all of Oman.”
Yaqoub Al-Khanbashi, an Omani writer and a member of Social Advisory Committee at the Zubair Corporation noted, “Omani Society welcomes such social initiatives, especially the cultural ones, as they have a positive impact on the community. The goals of Ikra are compatible with the goals of the official institutions which are concerned with improving literacy levels and educational outcomes. Therefore, establishing public libraries is a good idea that will encourage people to spend their time in reading, and everyone is aware of the importance of reading in building the human being intellectually.”
“Starting at Royal Hospital and moving to other hospitals later, the initiative not only encourages patients and visitors to the hospitals to spend their time reading, it also promotes and supports local Omani writers and their publications and book titles. The initiative aims to enhance the concept of reading among the public and we are pleased that The Zubair Corporation is supporting the idea. This program will be a start for a number of other initiatives in this year.”
The Social Advisory Committee at The Zubair Corporation consists of a group of talented and committed Omanis who are active in their local communities, especially in the field of volunteer work and community based initiatives. The Committee held its first meeting of 2015 in the premises of The Zubair Corporation, in the presence of Khalid bin Mohammed Al Zubair, Managing Director and other selected members of the Committee. The Social Advisory Committee has a number of initiatives planned for launch in 2015, which will be launched in special launch ceremonies.