We, at Pratham Books, have had an amazing journey over the past 18 months since the launch of StoryWeaver, when we created a gateway to thousands of open access stories in mother tongue languages for children. The interactive nature of the platform has allowed users not just to read the stories but also translate, version, and download and print the stories for use.
We are now poised to take the next leap, thanks to Google.org, whose grant makes it possible for us to scale up StoryWeaver to provide more stories in more languages to children all over the world. Access to learning and information is part of Google’s core values and the organization has announced a $8.4M commitment to help scale four groundbreaking education nonprofits working in India to make a quality education a reality.
StoryWeaver has enabled access to a staggering 3000 stories in 67 languages in the past 18 months. These stories ae being reimagined and translated for the enjoyment of children of all ages, and their digital format allows them to reach the remotest of areas, and the least-served children. We have been overwhelmed by the response of our wonderful community that has contributed their time and talent to create, translate and version the stories and take them to more children. Imagine our delight when we discovered that it also spoke for unrepresented languages that are the mother tongue languages of some of the most disadvantaged children. From minority languages like Tibetan and Konkani, to tribal languages like Kora and Santali and endangered languages like Kurdish, StoryWeaver is a rich source of children’s storybooks, which, as we know, are an essential pathway to literacy.
Suchana, based in Birbhum, West Bengal, has been working to improve the lives of the large Adivasi tribal community in that region by implementing education and health programmes. One of the challenges faced by them was that while children spoke Kora and Santali at home, learning materials were only available in Bangla, which is the dominant language of that region. Even though, the indigenous Adivasi languages of Kora and Santali are the first languages of the people of the region, there was a dearth of original learning material. This changed dramatically when Suchana began to use the StoryWeaver platform for translation. In a year and a half, almost 70 new stories in Kora and Santali have been translated and published on the platform. Even as you read this, 10,000 copies of books in these languages are being printed for use in their school programmes.
The grant from Google.org will provide a big boost to our work with StoryWeaver, propelling it to the next level of reach and influence. It will encourage the generation of thousands of new, engaging stories to be distributed even more widely, and read and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of children across the globe.
With this, we will take a big step forward in fulfilling our mission of ‘a book in every child’s hand’.
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