Competing through a newly launched reality TV show presents “an opportunity to be a role model for millions of other children.
Being part of the largest Arab reading contest comes with its own pressure, but having to demonstrate communication, analytical and critical thinking skills before millions of viewers takes the word “challenge” to a new level.
For 10-year-old Mezna Najeeb, who represents the UAE in the Arab Reading Challenge 2019, confidence and preparation are key to facing challenges in life.
Najeeb is one of the 16 reading champions from across the Arab world who made it to the televised semi-finals of the challenge.
Competing through a newly launched reality TV show – which airs every Friday leading up to the winner announcement in November – presents “an opportunity to be a role model for millions of other children and help promote the benefits of reading”.
A role model
Fifth-grader Najeeb said: “I love making friends and inspiring other children to take
up challenges in all aspects of life. Challenges can only make us better and stronger if we turn them into opportunities to improve.”
In fact, her favourite moment on the show was coming face to face with the judging panel for the first time as a testament to show other young viewers that fear should not impede achievement.
“The experience is teaching me to manage my time and accept criticism,” she said. Reading has been a lifestyle for Najeeb since she was four, which helped her outperform 455,000 students from the UAE to reach the semi-finals.
Her confidence and outgoing personality, paired with communication abilities, articulation, comprehension and analytical skills, have saved her from the first stage of elimination that saw four contenders leave the competition.
Now, Najeeb is among 12 contestants who continue their journey as they compete to become the Arab Reading Champion 2019.
“We are all friends on the set, and we help each other out, which is also a reason we don’t feel the pressure.”
Over a hundred books read
So far, she has read over 100 books in different fields and joined the challenge with 50 books. Najeeb, who aspires to become the minister of youth and “serve the country in every way possible”, is taking on the challenge in full force, regardless
“Reading makes you live more than once, travel in time, see what others cannot see, and learn from mistakes people have committed in the past. It is a privilege to have the chance to share this passion with other children.”
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