Dubai CEO teams up with 11-yr-old to launch audiobook for needy kids

Saman Haziq /Dubai Filed on September 8, 2021
Supplied photo

The Little Bird book for toddlers will be available on the e-platform Kupepo.

Eleven-year-old Diaco Taaeb’s younger sibling loved hearing stories, so much so that their family had run out of books to read to him. So, Diaco decided to write one — and now, his work is set to reach countless of underprivileged children across the globe.

Ahead of International Literacy Day, which was marked on Wednesday, GEMS Education Group CEO Dino Varkey lent his voice to Diaco’s Little Bird–A Book for Toddlers so that it can be shared as an audiobook globally.

It will be uploaded to the charitable book-share platform Kupepo, which provides e-books to children who have limited access to libraries.

“As a father first and foremost, I am truly delighted to be able to support this worthwhile charitable initiative that is enabling children around the world to share in the joy of reading and discovering books,” Varkey said.

“At a time when the impact of the pandemic has caused disruptions to learning, especially in under-developed nations, and heightened educational inequalities across the world, opportunities like this remind us of the immeasurable power and pleasure of reading and writing.”

Diaco, a Year 7 student at GEMS Metropole School–Motor City, was thrilled to have been part of the unique initiative.

“It feels great to know that I’m helping other schoolchildren get access to free books,” he said.

Student’s book donation drive goes digital

Kupepo is the digital arm of an initiative launched by Khushi Gadhia, a Year 5 GEMS Jumeirah Primary School (JPS) student who came up with the idea of collecting old books and donating them to schools in Kenya for a Ramadan project.

Under the project called ‘Old Books for New Eyes’, used books were collected and donated to students between the age of 2 and 18. Donors can simply leave them at a box placed in front of JPS.

The books are collected and delivered to the Lions Club of Greater Nairobi, which builds library shelves every time they receive books and then place the library at a needy school once they collect 1,000 books. The project has now set up 30 libraries in Kenya.

To increase the project’s reach, Khushi’s father Vikesh Gadhia founded a digital version and called it Kupepo.

Through Kupepo, students, staff and independent authors can read a favourite book, or a self-authored book, for their peers in underprivileged schools globally with a single objective — to enhance children’s literacy, vocabulary and knowledge. To date, over 120 books have already been recorded for its digital library. Kupepo is open to receiving more entries.

Saman Haziq

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