Every year, StoryWeaver marks International Mother Language Day (IMLD) to remind us all that learning to read in one’s mother tongue early in school makes education more engaging, meaningful and enjoyable for children.
Suzanne Singh, Chairperson, Pratham Books, says: “Children love stories and they are an important part of a child’s growth and development. Children need storybooks that they can relate to and that are in languages that they speak and understand. Through StoryWeaver, we are trying to address the inequity in the availability of reading resources by providing open and free access to over 18,000 storybooks in 224 languages and fostering the respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.”
In 2020, we're ringing in International Mother Language Day by helping volunteers conduct more than 1000 reading sessions for children in over 60 languages! This week, volunteers from around the world are using StoryWeaver’s digital repository of multilingual storybooks to read to children in several languages, including mainstream Indian languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu), indigenous languages (Kuvi, Pawari, Santali), vulnerable languages (Gondi, Korku), classical languages (Sanskrit) and other languages from around the world (Arabic, Igbo, Nepali).
30,000 schools in the state of Chhattisgarh, India (of which 15,000 are in tribal areas) have been encouraged to celebrate International Mother Language Day with StoryWeaver by giving children access to books and storytelling in indigenous languages like Gondi, Kurukh, Sadri and many more. Says Dr. M. Sudhish, Samagra Shiksha Chhattisgarh: “On January 26, the Honorable Chief Minister of Chattisgarh announced the use of mother tongue languages while teaching in classrooms. When we heard about StoryWeaver’s IMLD initiative, we felt that this was a great opportunity to take the Chief Minister’s mandate forward and bring mother tongue storytelling into the classroom.”
Additionally, we're also thrilled to announce the launch of open digital libraries in 16 underserved languages, marking the culmination of our Freedom to Read 2020 campaign, which aimed to create digital books in languages that have limited or no children’s books. Through our campaign, over 500 storybooks have been translated into languages such as Amharic (Ethiopia), Basa Jawa (Indonesia), Bodo, Tangkhul (vulnerable languages from North-East India), Kolami (vulnerable indigenous language from Maharashtra), Kochila Tharu and Rana Tharu (spoken in Nepal), Sindhi, and bilingual books in English-Surjapuri, to name a few.
"Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities" is the focus of the 2022 International Mother Language Day, which highlights the potential of technology to enhance multilingual education and encourage the development of high-quality teaching and learning for all.
Some of the biggest problems in education today may be solved by technology. If it is governed by the fundamental concepts of inclusion and equality, efforts to ensure fair and inclusive lifetime opportunities to learn for everyone can be expedited. A crucial part of inclusion in education is mother tongue-based multilingual education.
Many nations used technology-based solutions during the COVID-19 school shut down to ensure that learning continued. However, a lot of students lacked the tools, internet access, resources, content, and human support they would have needed to pursue remote learning. Furthermore, the diversity of languages is not always reflected in the tools, programmes, and content of distant learning and teaching.
These libraries have been co-created in collaboration with our partner organisations:
And our Language Champions:
A huge shout-out to our Freedom to Read partner organisations, Language Champions, and IMLD reading volunteers! Your efforts will go a long way in helping put a book in every child's hand. THANK YOU!
Stay tuned for more stories from the IMLD reading sessions and our Freedom to Read partners!
In the meanwhile, here are some happy moments from our ongoing International Mother Language Day celebrations:
From a reading session in English-Surjapuri conducted by Azad India Foundation in Kishanganj, Bihar
From a reading session in Arabic conducted at the Qatar National Library
From a reading session in Kolami, conducted at DIET Yavatmal to mark the launch of an open digital library of 100 Kolami storybooks, created by Institute for Multilingual Education (IMLi) and StoryWeaver
From a reading session in Maithili conducted by Aripana Foundation at Gyan Niketan Public School, Darbhanga, Bihar
From a reading session in Amharic, by Ras Abebe Aregay Library in Ethiopia
From a reading session in Karbi, conducted by Pragyam Foundation at Parijat Academy, Guwahati, Assam
From a reading session in Marwari conducted by SNS Foundation, Rajasthan
From a Nepali reading session conducted by Nepali Rana Tharu Samaj
From a reading session conducted in Mayurbhanj, Odisha
Bharti Menghani is a translator and storyteller, who loves creating storybooks in her mother tongue, Sindhi. Bharti aims to help revitalise the language by contributing to literature in Sindhi. As part of the Freedom To Read 2020 campaign, she has created a digital library of 50 storybooks in Sindhi.
In this email interview, Bharti writes about her love for her mother tongue and the importance of creating children's books in Sindhi.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your interests and your work?
I am an HR professional working in a corporate.
Reading stories has always been my passion. I have grown up reading and discussing stories with my mother, and I feel that stories have shaped my personality as they have always acted as a torchbearer for me, showing me how to face real life issues. I love to read children's stories, motivational books, spiritual stories, folk tales and stories from the Panchtantra.
We would love to learn about your personal relationship with Sindhi - do tell us about it.
Sindhi is my mother tongue. I grew up speaking and reading in Sindhi. As I did my schooling from a school where Sindhi was a compulsory subject, I started writing in Sindhi from grade 4 and simply loved it.
How did you come across StoryWeaver and the Freedom to Read campaign?
In 2016, I did a course in storytelling from a renowned institute. Most of my batchmates were teachers and I came to know about Pratham Books' Storyweaver through them. When I visited the website, I was amazed to see the vast repository of storybooks in a variety of languages and more importantly, created with the noble cause of providing reading material to children as their basic right. I followed StoryWeaver on social media and kept receiving notifications from time to time. Though one such notification, I came to know about International Mother Language Day and the Freedom to Read campaign.
Bharti has translated 50 storybooks into Sindhi on StoryWeaver
Why do you think is it important to have children’s books in Sindhi?
In 1967, Sindhi was added to the constitution, as an official language of the Republic of India. However, like many other regional languages today, Sindhi is facing the danger of becoming extinct.
There are two sets of children in the Sindhi community. One – those who have the means to afford books and other reading material in Sindhi, but do not do so, as their parents want them to learn to read and write in English. For these children, their interaction with the Sindhi language only comes from speaking it at home. The second set comprises those children who speak in Sindhi, but being from an economically weaker background, they are unable to buy Sindhi books for reading. Hence, it is important to have children's books in Sindhi to cater to the needs of both the sections. I feel that Storyweaver is one such platform which fulfills this criteria.
Of the 50 storybooks that you translated, which story would be your favourite and why?
Gully Jo Gazab Jo Pitaro would definitely be my favourite. This book is about an intelligent child who is passionate about helping and solving everybody’s problem instantly, and for this he keep collecting things - which could have gone into the waste - and makes the best use of them to help anyone in need.
What are some of your favourite books from childhood? Is there any memorable reading moment that you would like to share?
My favourite book from childhood is a storybook called “Hansti Duniya”. It is children's book that is published every month by the Nirankari Mission and features stories, poetry, and sections on science facts, quizzes, puzzles, mythology, and so on.
Another favourite from childhood is Chacha Chaudhry and the Panchtantra tales.
What is your favourite word / phrase / quote in Sindhi?
Here's a poem about my love for my mother tongue:
सिंधी भाषा प्यारी भाषा,
हर भाषा खां न्यारी भाषा,
प्यार अमड़ि जो जंहिंमें पातुम,
अहिड़े थदड़नि ठारी भाषा,
मिठड़ी ॿोली ऐं लफ़्ज़ मिठा,
आहे भाॻनि वारी भाषा,
अखरनि में वडी॒ सभिन खां,
सिंधियत जी अवतारी भाषा,
कन्हैया आहूजा,हास्य ,व्यंग्य कवि, बिलासपुर
You can read all the storybooks translated by Bharti Menghani here.Be the first to comment.
Written by Pallavi Krishnan
We are incredibly proud to share that Pratham Books' StoryWeaver is a winner at the mBillionth Awards South Asia 2019-2020 in the Learning and Education category.
With the rapid increase in penetration of mobile technology across almost all socio-economic strata around the world, the mobile phone has emerged as the most powerful digital tool for empowerment across the world. This is more so in South Asia, Asia Pacific and other parts of the developing world.
Recognising this phenomenon, in 2010, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) launched the mBillionth Awards South Asia to highlight, recognise, and reward best practices, excellence and innovations in the development and usage of mobile phone applications. With the theme of “Smart Phones to Smart Communities”, the award looks at mobile applications which can create transformative content and services and help engender remarkable and long-term changes in the lives and livelihoods of people, especially the underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged section.
The Learning and Education category recognises the use of mobile applications that empower the education sector and serve the needs of learners to acquire knowledge and skills. The aim is to identify and honour applications that try to transform schools, universities and other educational institutions through interactive, personalised and distributed learning resources; address the learning needs of all, and create active e-Learning communities.
Suzanne Singh, Chairperson Pratham Books, Himanshu Giri, CEO Pratham Books and Anamika Radhakrishnan, Senior Product Manager, StoryWeaver attended the 10th mBillionth Award Gala 2019 at The Eros Hotel, Nehru Place, New Delhi on February 1st, 2020.Be the first to comment.