Rantu Moni Deka: A man on a mission!

Posted by Menaka Raman on June 22, 2016

Rantu Moni Deka is a busy man! As a Block Resource Person with Pratham in the Kamrup district of Assam, he works closely with schools who are a part of Pratham’s flagship program: Read India. The programme aims to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of children between 6-14 years.

As a part of Read India, Pratham has initiated 'Reading Week'  in 'Lakhon Mein Ek' villages across the country. Block Resource Persons go into villages with the aim of setting up a library with the help of the community. There are 48 schools that come under the two blocks that Rantu is the resource person for. He is personally involved with  6 Read India Schools and 12 library villages.

The two time Reading Champion, was inspired to start translating stories for children when he read Rukmini Banerji’s  'दीदी का रंग बिरंगा खज़ाना'. It was the first story he translated to Assamese using StoryWeaver.

    

“The students have access to a library in school, but the books there are meant for much bigger children - high school and college degree. The children of course are not interested in them at all.” shared Rantu. “So when I downloaded my translation to a laptop and read it to them, they just loved it. They were so happy with the colourful pictures and a story that was written just for children.” remembers Rantu.

   

“Seeing how happy the children were when I shared the story with them inspired me to translate more and more stories to Assamese” says Rantu who has now translated 14 stories on StoryWeaver.

 

You can read all of Rantu's translations on StoryWeaver here.

“I have shared the stories and shown the StoryWeaver platform to my colleagues at Pratham and to teachers at the schools.” says Rantu who wants to encourage more of his colleagues to use the site. Rantu has conducted reading sessions with children and teachers in almost all the schools that he works with.

 “The teachers have all been very impressed with the platform and the idea behind it. They all agreed that such stories with bright and beautiful illustrations will encourage children to read more and help them become more skilled readers.”

Also on his to-do list is creating a simple reading App.

“Access to internet connection and computers can be a challenge. But everyone has a mobile phone, including the parents of the children we work with. A simple app which children can read stories on will give them access to books at home where they can continue improving their reading.”

We are so impressed by Rantu’s passion and enthusiasm for helping more children read joyful books in a language they are fluent in. We’ll keep you posted with more news from Rantu about his translations and reading app.

Do you work with children? Would you like to help translate stories to languages they are fluent in? Do you know someone who is using StoryWeaver to translate or share stories with underserved children? Write to storyweaver@prathambooks.org and tell us.

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News You Can Use! 'Other Versions' of a story!

Posted by Menaka Raman on March 04, 2016

Did you know that you can now see how many versions of a story there are on StoryWeaver upfront? 

When you click on the 'read' icon of a story you'll be directed to a page that has all the information you need to know about that story. We've added Other Versions to this page. Here, at a galnce,  you can see how many languages the story has been translated in to and how many translations there are of a story in a particular language! 

However, just because a version of a story already exists in a particular language, don't let that deter you frome trying your hand at translating it yourself. StoryWeaver believes in and encourages as many diverse re-tellings of a story as possible! 

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8 stories. 113 avatars.

Posted by Menaka Raman on February 24, 2016

Yamini Vijayan, Content Manager, StoryWeaver writes about the recently concluded Weave-a-Story campaign and how the collaborative spirit of a community helped 8 stories find their way to 113 translations of which 89 were in Indian languages. 

For over a year before StoryWeaver was launched, our team was working on making existing Pratham Books' stories available on the platform. Pratham Books does have a fantastic collection of multilingual stories for early readers, and we were eager to make these easily accessible - digitally, and in a way that is super easy for our community to use, reuse and recycle. But all this was content that was already published (in print). Shouldn't a brand new platform like StoryWeaver also have brand new stories, we wondered.

And it was this, in a sense, that led us to the 'Weave-a-Story' campaign – a campaign rooted in ideas of inventiveness, diversity (in language) and collaboration. The campaign inspired 8 enchanting children's stories. For four of these  ('It's All the Cat's Fault', 'Ammu's Puppy', 'दीदी का रंग बिरंगा खज़ाना' and 'चुन्नु-मुन्नु का नहाना') we requested illustrators to create fresh artwork. Three of the stories ( 'The Day it Rained Fish' , 'The Story of Stories' and 'துப்பறியும் துரை') were woven around sets of illustrations created for #6FrameStoryChallenge, a campaign aimed at building a rich image bank for StoryWeaver. 'Mangoes for Moidooty'  was created by a community user, who had used existing Pratham Books illustrations to string together a rather charming story.

In fact, one of the things that got us really excited was that 'It's All the Cat's Fault' – the story that we launched with – was written by Anushka Ravishankar, a co-founder of Duckbill, one of the leading children's publishing houses in India. To us, her openness to contribute was a sign – of a sparkling future for an open-source story platform like ours (read more about the journey of Anushka's story here).

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the creation of these 8 stories, we reached out to the growing community of users and friends of Pratham Books to support the campaign by translating these stories into AS MANY LANGUAGES AS POSSIBLE. And once again, our community jumped right in and gave us enough reason to be eternally optimistic. We're delighted to say that as part of the campaign, we added languages such as Mundari, Sadri, Konkani, Khmer, Portuguese, etc. Today, you can find stories in over 30 languages on StoryWeaver and while we're thrilled to bits, we continue to be eager to add more in the hope that children across the world will be able to read good stories in languages of their choice.

We closed the 'Weave-a-Story' campaign on February 21st which was International Mother Language Day and what we'd like to share with you more than just numbers and figures is this: our growing realization that collaboration is truly at the heart of the work we do and without this, it wouldn’t be possible for us to do what we set out to do (“a book in every child’s hand”). Besides, the journey has been far more memorable and colourful with folk like you for company. So while this campaign is ending, we're really seeing it as a beginning, for StoryWeaver's collaborative efforts. So you – yes, you! - it's you who can help us transport these stories to children, so do stay with us and together, let's build a world of young, multilingual readers.

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