The rich tradition of Arabic storytelling, which brings to life fables, legends and tales of kings and warriors, gets a new platform with Canon Middle East bringing captivating stories, narrated by expert Hakawatis, through the newly launched ‘Hakawaty.’
A digital platform for Arabic storytelling, which underlines the vast and varied Arabic content that has been handed down over generations through the art of storytelling, comes just in time for the Holy Month of Ramadan and as families stay at home following the Covid-19 situation.
The platform’s launch coincides with research Canon has recently undertaken in collaboration with YouGov, identifying attitudes amongst families about their overall e-learning experiences. In the UAE, some 60% of respondents said that so far, their experience has been ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, with the majority, 56%, choosing activities such as reading and other hobbies including musical instruments and sketching as their favourite way to keep kids occupied.
In Saudi Arabia, 63% stated that their experience was ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ with the overall experience of e-learning. 52% of Saudis chose reading and other hobbies such as instruments and sketching. They preferred choosing these options to keep families entertained whilst at home.
The launch of ‘Hakawaty’ is even more pertinent for the region, where there is an increased focus on popularising Arabic among the younger generation, more so as many young ones speak English at home and are not familiar with stories of yore, from the region and by the region’ storytellers. It also complements the efforts across the region to promote Arabic skills among students, as they become more familiar with the stories from Arab literature, and are inspired not just to share them but also narrate the stories and continue the tradition of storytelling.
Several studies have documented the importance of storytelling in shaping a well-rounded personality in children. A research published in the European Journal of Language and Literature Studies cites that storytelling promotes cognitive development as well as in memorising new vocabulary and phrases, while another states that storytelling and children’s literature are “means and catalysts for behavioural management, behavioural modification and modelling desirable behaviour.”
‘Hakawaty’ aims to foster in children a love for the written word and the fine art of narrating stories, and features a catalogue of Arabic short stories for children below the age of 10.
Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications & Marketing Services Director, Canon Middle East and Central and North Africa, said: “Storytelling is at the heart of the Arab heritage. Now, with more people spending more time at home and with the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, we see Hakawaty as an ideal platform to inspire children through compelling stories narrated by expert storytellers. The diversity of themes, settings and characters that Hakawaty will present will further strengthen a love for literature in children. We will continue to build Hakawaty over the coming months and create a strong digital bank of Arabic stories that will celebrate the richness of Arabic literature and the proud tradition of story-telling.”