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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Gift of building gives Noon Caravan mobile classroom a base and oasis of learning

Volunteers hope more children from poorer backgrounds will benefit from the scheme

An initiative that converted a bus into a mobile classroom to teach children to read that did not regularly attend school is to be given its own building.

The scheme, launched in 2016 and known as the Noon Caravan, targeted six to 15-year-old’s from poorer backgrounds.

Financed by Sharjah Social Services Department, the programme proved a significant success and officials were anxious for it to continue.

Last week, Fayza Khabab, director of the volunteer centre at SSSD, announced that the UAE’s General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments had donated a building to allow expansion of the project.

Ms Khabab said: “We started in September two years ago in a mobile classroom accommodating up to 40 pupils who were picked up from their homes in residential areas in Sharjah such as Al Qadisiya, Al Ghafiya and Al Sabkha.

“But now, with the support of other departments, we have a building dedicated to the project after we saw a large number of families coming forward to register their children.

“The single-storey building has two classrooms, a library, and a teacher's room.”

The Noon Caravan started as part of a Sharjah government initiative to promote education as a fundamental right of every Emirati child.

The bus was equipped with books, pens and chalkboards and offered pupils an average of 12 classes over three months.

Ms Fayza said more than a dozen young pupils who had been registered when the project started had now been enrolled at government schools.

She said that this year alone, 27 children — 15 girls and 12 boys — were being taught reading, writing, maths and English.

The Emirates Retiree Association has also assisted the programme by providing retired teachers.

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