Theresia Alit is a freelance translator, who translates books from English-Javanese to Bahasa Indonesia-Javanese and vice versa. She is passionate about creating a repository of storybooks in her mother tongue, Basa Jawa, as she feels that the number of people who tell children's stories in Basa Jawa is decreasing. Previously, she has worked on translating stories into Javanese for a project called Serat Kancil. As part of the Freedom To Read 2020 campaign, she has created a digital library of 50 storybooks in Basa Jawa. 

In this email interview, Theresia writes about translating books into her mother tongue and the importance of creating children's books in the Basa Jawa.

Do tell us about yourself, your interests, your work.

My name is Theresia Alit, and I am from Indonesia. I am a freelance translator, and I work on translations from English-Javanese to Bahasa Indonesia-Javanese and vice versa. Speaking of interests, I am very interested in traditional culture, languages and people.

We would love to learn about your personal relationship with Basa Jawa - do tell us about it.

I am a native speaker of Basa Jawa, and was raised speaking the language. I find it sad that a lot of people in the younger generation of today do not really speak or understand Basa Jawa, despite it being their mother tongue.

How did you come across StoryWeaver and the Freedom to Read campaign?

I came to know about StoryWeaver and your Freedom to Read campaign on Twitter, from a retweet by the Wikitongues account.

Why do you think is it important to have children’s books in Basa Jawa?

I feel that it is extremely important for the younger generation to learn and read Basa Jawa. In fact, yesterday, I did a campaign with a community of small children, and they were really enthusiastic about reading stories in the language!

Theresia Alit conducts reading sessions for children in Basa Jawa in Indonesia

Of the 50 storybooks that you translated, which story would be your favourite and why?

I really enjoyed the book, Bayi gajah kang penasaran. It's so funny!

What are some of your favourite books from childhood? Is there any memorable reading moment that you would like to share?

Some of my favourite books are The Little Prince, Asterix and Obelix, Uthak-uthak Ugel (folktale), etc. When I read a book, I feel that I am moving into another world altogether. (just like Puchku!)


You can read all of Theresia Alit's translated storybooks here.

Do join the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also reach out to us through our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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.

Do join the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also reach out to us through our social media channels: FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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Selected Partners for StoryWeaver Freedom to Read 2020

Posted by Remya Padmadas on February 21, 2020

At StoryWeaver, we believe that every child deserves to have joyful reading material in her mother tongue. To make this a reality, we have been building all-digital libraries in underserved languages through the 'Freedom to Read' campaign.  

In November 2019, we opened applications for the 4th edition of  Freedom to Read, inviting organisations and individuals to partner with us to achieve our goal: the co-creation of digital libraries in languages with few or no storybooks by February 21, 2020 - International Mother Language Day. Each of these free-to-use digital libraries will contain at least 50 quality-assured books - creating more storybooks, in more languages, that serve more children all over the world.

We are overwhelmed by the response to Freedom to Read 2020. A BIG thank you to the applicants - we are inspired by your work in the field of literacy and language.

Based on our guidelines, relevance of work, and a rigorous evaluation, we have selected 5 organisations and 18 individual Language Champions to collaborate with us to build and share digital libraries in 20 languages.

Here is the list of partners for Freedom to Read 2020:

Partner Organisations

Target Language Organisation
Amharic Ras Abebe Aregay Library
Bodo, Nepali and Karbi Pragyam Foundation
English-Surjapuri Azad India Foundation
Fijian Fijian Language Society
Hindi-Magahi Karunodaya Foundation

 

Language Champions

Target Language Language Champion
Amharic Kaleab Getachew
Arabic Amina Bouiali
Chhattisgarhi Rohit Sharma, Er. Vivek Rathore, Charan Das Mahant
Farsi Marzieh Nezakat
Basa Jawa (Javanese) Theresia Alit, Sigit Apriyanto
Kochila Tharu Sanjib Chaudhary
Lepcha Minket Lepcha
Persian Nazanin Karimimakhsous
Rana Tharu Kamal Singh Rana
Setswana Leelo
Sambal Leo Fordan
Sambalpuri Dron Sahu
Sindhi Bhawana Dhameja P, Bharti Menghani
Tu'un savi Francisco Amado Cruz Ramírez

 

We shall be getting in touch with the selected partners to discuss the next steps.

We are so grateful to everyone who applied - thank you once again for your participation, interest and support! We shall do our best to reach out to you to explore alternate ways to collaborate.


Do join the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also reach out to us through our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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