Watch: Young authors’ call for sustainability, child rights wins Voices of Future Generations 2022 story contest in Dubai

Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum (second from left), Goodwill Ambassador, Voices of Future Generations, awarding the winners
Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

Dubai: From marine pollution to hunger, food security to rights of children of determination, various issues plaguing the planet became the themes of stories that fetched the top awards at the Middle East edition of the Voices of Future Generations (VoGF).

The 2022 winners of VoGF, the global writing competition for children launched under the patronage of UNESCO in 2014 and brought to the Middle East in 2019, were announced in Dubai on Sunday. The contest was created to promote awareness about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The regional competition was organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation on behalf of Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Goodwill Ambassador for the initiative for the Middle East.

At the competition’s biggest award ceremony to date, Sheikha Hissa honoured the top three winners of English and Arabic categories.

Champions of SDGs

Echoing the same, the winners told Gulf News that the prizes would encourage them to be more responsible towards the environment and to champion the SDGs. Inayah Fathima, whose story themed around safe disposal of medicines, said: “I feel like I am responsible to promote the SDGs and inspire my peers to also ask for a better future.”

Another winner, Abdul Kareem, said: “I am very proud of this and I promise to all to be caring of the environment and be one of the voices of the future generation.”

The event brought together the shortlisted children, their families, teachers, and the artists illustrating the stories in the two anthologies of winning stories from the previous years. The award ceremony was hosted by previous winners, Saud Ahmad Al Kaabi and Saira Thomas from the 2020 edition, and Mezna Najeeb and Abrar Ahmed Sirohey from the 2021 edition. Guests also enjoyed an exhibition of the illustrations by local artists featured in the first two anthologies of winning stories.

Registrations open

The competition, open to children aged 8 to 12, encourages children to write adventure stories about characters overcoming challenges and creating a more tolerant, sustainable world. The best entries are published in a book in Arabic and English and shared internationally.

Entries must be between 600-1,500 words long and should feature one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the writer’s hopes, dreams or aspirations for a sustainable future. Entries are open to all children resident in the Gulf region and in full-time education, including those home schooling. Registrations are now open on the website of VoGF Arabia.

Top three winners in English

1. A Prescription for a Faltering Future by Inayah Fathima Faeez, Gems United Indian School, Abu Dhabi

2. The World Warrior by Inaya Danish Zaidi, The Winchester School, Dubai

3. War Candies by Mohammed Hamzah Siddiqui, Cambridge International School, Dubai

Top three winners in Arabic

1. Under Water Magic by Nourah Ahmed Yousif Almushtaghil Alnaqbi, Al-Marifa 1 School, Khor Fakkan Sharjah

2. Finding the Path to Happiness by Rodina Ahmed Atef Badr, Charity School Ajman

3. Look Inside by AbdulKareem Ghazal, Al-Shola Private School, Sharjah