Manning Sutton is the founder and director of Apprendre Sans Frontieres (Learning Without Borders), a non-profit organisation that provides technology and educational materials to primary schools in French-speaking African countries like Senegal. To supplement the course curriculum, the organisation provide books (in the form of PDFs and creative commons), websites (Wikipedia, Khan Academy etc.), photos and videos to teachers. 

The organisation currently has about 200 books for primary school students. However, low literacy rates, no internet access and the absence of library materials including children's books are some of the challenges that the organisation faces. To create storybooks in mother tongue languages like French, Learning Without Borders partnered with StoryWeaver.

Jordan Hairabedian, who works as a researcher at Learning Without Borders, is a student at Sciences Po Aix, an Institute of Political Sciences in France. In May 2019, he organised a week-long translation hackathon with fellow students at the university to translate storybooks into French for Learning Without Borders.

This was Learning Without Borders’ first experience organising a StoryWeaver translation sprint. A closed Facebook group was formed to aid communication regarding translation and review of each story. Jordan translated StoryWeaver's translation sprint guide, which provided the best practices on translating for children, to French. 

Jordan shares, “The stories translated were published after peer-to-peer reviews. This was followed by each story being rated by the language/ translation experts from within the group. These ratings were made the basis of assessment and awards for best translations from the sprint.”

53 stories were translated into French in this sprint. You can browse through some of the stories from the sprint here.

    

Julia Hang and Jordan Hairbedian translating stories into French as part of the hackathon organised by Learning Without Borders.

Learning Without Borders has piloted an offline, solar-powered digital library in Senegal, that can be used in the remote areas of the country that do not have access to electricity or the internet.

Sutton hopes to see story books translated from French to languages like Pulaar and Serer, and eventually to Mandinka, Balanta-Ganja, Mandjak, Hassaniya Arabic, Noon, Jola-Fonyi, Soninke, and Mankanya. He also plans to share the StoryWeaver methodology with the Ministry of Education to see if books can be created locally, in local languages. 

As for us, we’re just excited that our translation resources are being used to translate storybooks into languages around the world, so that more children can benefit from it and partake of the joy of reading!

If you would like to conduct a StoryWeaver translation sprint, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

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At StoryWeaver, we believe that all children, everywhere, should have access to a never ending stream of stories in their mother tongue. If you are a language department head or professor at your University, then do consider signing up your class for our new translation campaign.

We are looking for student volunteers to help us translate stories to a language they are learning on StoryWeaver. Students can be assigned stories, which you, their professor reviewing their work before publishing. This can be an excellent project students can sign up to improve their language skills while contributing to a growing pool of openly licensed multilingual stories for children to practice and improve their reading skills.  

This model has been highly successful with some of our other partners like the Ugandan Christian University (UCU). As a part of the UCU Community Service Project: ‘Creative Writing, Translation and Publishing for Children’ in the Department of Languages and Literature, 50 stories have been translated to Ugandan languages to supplement early literacy initiatives.The project seeks to make mother tongue reading material  accessible to children of the local communities in Uganda through the UCU campuses and colleges.

StoryWeaver

StoryWeaver is India’s first open source, digital repository of multilingual children’s books from Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s book publisher. Pratham Books has a mission is to see ‘a book in every child’s hand’ and was founded to address the lack of high quality, affordable, multilingual books in India. We realised that to even begin satisfying the reading needs of a multilingual country such as India, and create equitable access to books for all children we would need to massively scale the creation and distribution of multilingual content. The answer, we believed lay in technology and the power of open licensing.  

StoryWeaver offers educators, non-profits, language champions and book lovers across the world access to over 5000 stories in 100 languages. All these stories are free to read, download, print and share for free, as they are openly licensed under CC-BY 4.0, one of the most liberal Creative Commons licenses. StoryWeaver is accessed from a 350,000 plus (and growing!) strong community from over 180 countries around the world. Stories on the platform have collectively been read (both online and offline) 2 million times.

To sign up your department click here, and help us create more stories in more languages for more children.    

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