A children’s e-book highlighting how young people can overcome the current global health situation has been contributed to Ma’an’s ‘Together We Are Good’ programme by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.
Written by Sheikha Shamma and illustrated by Andrea Lucci, ‘Who is Corona? – The Story of a Virus that Stopped the World’ is a vibrant 13-page digital publication, available in English and Arabic. Combining eye-catching images and simple language, the story explains what COVID-19 is and guides children on how to stay healthy and cope with the stress and anxiety it may bring.
Sheikha Shamma was inspired to write this short story in March, as the global situation worsened and stricter precautions came into effect, to help young children understand the pandemic unfolding around them.
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, said: “This is a difficult time for all of us and I can only imagine how difficult it is for children, especially those who struggle to express themselves. As adults, we have the capability to rationalise and adapt to unexpected circumstances, but it is equally important for us to provide young people with the right tools to manage such situations and take precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
Sheikha Shamma added: “This is a global pandemic, and thus requires a global effort. ‘Who is Corona? – The Story of a Virus that Stopped the World’, is one of many contributions that Abu Dhabi has given to the world. In a time where we are adjusting to limitations, I hope this book will inspire parents across the world to initiate virtual reading sessions that contribute to the happiness and improved wellbeing of children that are struggling during this crisis.”
‘Who is Corona? – The Story of a Virus that Stopped the World’ is one of several hundreds of in-kind contributions received by Ma’an as the Abu Dhabi community continues to step up its efforts to support people in need during these challenging times.
The book will be available to download on the ‘Wanna Read?’ website along with a video. Members of the community are invited to translate the short story into their own languages and share for upload alongside the English and Arabic versions.
Sheikha Shamma is planning to host a virtual book-reading at Al Shohub School and is keen to inspire children to tap into their creativity by writing their own stories and create their own artwork whilst in isolation. Children are also encouraged to engage in online discussions using the hashtags #WhoIsCorona and من_هو_كورونا# to show the precautions they are taking, artwork they are creating and stories they are writing during quarantine.
Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Sheikha  Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan for contributing her wonderful book to Ma’an’s ‘Together We Are Good’ programme. During these difficult times, the current health situation has become a source of daily conversation that has affected our daily lives. Children might be frustrated that they are not able to meet their friends or spend quality time outdoors with their families without fully knowing why given the challenging periods that we are facing today.”
Her Excellency continued: “For parents, this can be extremely difficult and we understand it might not be easy to explain to children what this COVID-19 pandemic is and how it affects us. But this beautifully-illustrated book can be a vital resource to understand the new landscape and what they can do to keep safe during this outbreak.”
Participants wishing to contribute financially to ‘Together We Are Good’ can send SMS messages to 6670 (AED 1000), 6678 (500 AED), 6683 (100 AED) and 6658 (50 AED). They can also call 8005-MAAN for volunteering and in-kind and financial contributions above AED 1,000 or send messages on WhatsApp on 0543055366. In-kind contributions include equipment, buildings, services, and time as well as expert volunteering efforts.