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An ode to sustainability: Young Emirati author promotes environmental awareness through storytelling

An ode to sustainability: Young Emirati author promotes environmental awareness through storytelling
13 May 2024 08:53

Mays Ibrahim (ABU DHABI)

A budding author with a passion for sustainability, Fatima Al-Hammadi, 24, intertwines storytelling with her expertise in environmental science, aiming to inspire young minds and raise awareness about pressing environmental issues.

Currently employed in environmental assessment and analysis at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), Al Hammadi’s journey into the world of literature began in childhood. She fondly recalls her early fascination with poems, stories, and plays, which laid the foundation for her love of reading. However, it was during the Year of Reading 2016 that her passion truly blossomed, thanks to a thoughtful gift from her teacher – the first novel she ever read.

Reflecting on her literary influences, Al-Hammadi draws inspiration from diverse sources, including the rich oral traditions of her grandmothers and captivating tales from around the world. This fusion of cultural heritage and global narratives fuels her imagination and shapes her storytelling approach.

One book that resonates deeply with Al-Hammadi, returning to it time and again for guidance, is “Reflections on Happiness and Positivity” by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

In 2017, Al-Hammadi won in the category of high school students in the short story contest “Qesaty” launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, for her story “Burqaa Jedaty Al Ajeeb” (My Grandma’s Curious Burqa). The author seamlessly blends Emirati heritage with imaginative storytelling, earning her accolades and recognition.

‘Education in Childhood is like Engraving on Stone’

In her latest endeavour, “Al Ghafa Al Seh-riya” (The Magical Ghaf Tree) Al-Hammadi weaves a tale that transcends entertainment, delving into themes of environmental stewardship and the UAE’s unique ecosystem.

Through dialogue with the titular tree, she explores the Ghaf’s remarkable resilience and its vital role in sustaining life in the desert environment.

“My goal is to prioritise environmental themes and characters in my future works. Through imaginative and adventurous narratives, I hope to deliver engaging and educational content centered on environmental awareness,” she told Aletihad in a recent interview.

Fuelled by her passion for environmental advocacy, Al-Hammadi envisions a future where children’s literature serves as a vehicle for instilling positive values and nurturing young leaders committed to environmental conservation.

As a member of the Arabic Language Youth Council, she actively takes part in initiatives aimed at bridging linguistic and cultural divides while advancing environmental literacy. On her creative journey, Al Hammadi was met with encouragement from teachers and role models, including Dr. Sheaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, the Secretary General of EAD.

“She inspired me to publish my second story after seven years since my first publication.”

As she continues her literary journey, she remains steadfast in her mission to inspire, educate, and empower future generations to safeguard the planet with each story she pens.

“As the saying goes, ‘education in childhood is like engraving on stone’. Raising environmental awareness and instilling sustainability principles in children from an early age is paramount to ensuring future generations are equipped with the knowledge needed to address the environmental issues our planet is faced with today”.

The author believes that stories, especially those with appealing illustrations, serve as vital tools for delivering environmental messages, instilling values that are essential for nurturing an informed generation aware of the importance of conserving the environment.

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