"If we start speaking other languages and forget our own, we would not be, we would be clones of an alien people; we would be aliens to ourselves." UNESCO, The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education, 1958

About Freedom to Read 2019

Every year, Pratham Books' StoryWeaver marks International Mother Language Day with Freedom to Read, a campaign to remind us all that every child has the right to enjoy reading material in her own mother tongue. The UNESCO report on mother tongue literacy highlights the scarcity of such material, stating, "as much as 40% of the global population does not have access to education in a language they speak or understand."

Freedom to Read 2019 directly addresses this yawning gap by creating open digital libraries in 100 mother languages. While the platform has scaled to storybooks in 147 languages in the last 3 years, the goal of the Freedom to Read 2019 campaign was to partner with a global network of organisations and individuals to create reviewed, high-quality reading resources. Each of these reviewed digital libraries will encompass 50 to 100 storybooks.

These digital storybooks will be used in classrooms to capture and retain students' interest in reading, as well as to preserve local culture and language. They will also provide a much-needed link between the language spoken at home, and the medium of instruction in school.

Our Process

To achieve the milestone of 100 digital libraries, StoryWeaver has collaborated with 10 national and international organisations, and nine individual volunteers who share the zeal for local language reading material for children, and had applied to collaborate with us.

Leveraging technology, in the form of its free-to-use digital platform, and open licensing, which allows for the sharing of high-quality original content, StoryWeaver has launched children’s libraries in a variety of languages: tribal languages like Korku and Pawari; relatively rare languages like Bundelkhandi or Surjapuri; and even underserved international languages like Chinyanja and Basa Jawa.

  • Application: Over 230 applications from organisations and individuals from India and overseas
  • Review and selection: The partners were selected according to the Freedom to Read 2019 Scoring Rubric, which evaluated elements like digital infrastructure, nuances of the target language, the area of work, the on-ground impact, and other variables.
  • Curation of stories: Lists of storybooks were curated according to the partners' specific needs, cultural or otherwise.
  • Online training: Webinars and conference calls for trainers, as well as their teams
  • Support materials provided to partners:
    • Pratham Books' Translation Manual
    • Tips on translating
    • How-to-translate videos
    • Workflows for peer-to-peer review
    • StoryWeaver Translate-a-thon Handbook

Our Partners

From educational organisations to reading champions, our partners share our commitment to joyful reading resources for children in their own mother tongues. Learn more about them here.

Our Libraries

Freedom to Read 2019 is proud to launch open digital libraries in 100 mother languages on the occasion of International Mother Language Day. We look forward to these digital storybooks capturing the imaginations of children in India and all over the world - in schools, reading programmes, libraries, and beyond. These languages range from mainstream languages, underserved and minority languages like Surjapuri, Maithili, Chinyanja, Mixe, tribal languages like Gondi, Kora, Pawari and endangered languages like Occitan. Through the year, StoryWeaver will continue to widen the range of these resources.

Languages from India

Assamese, Bengali, Bengali-Kora, Bengali-Santali, Bhojpuri, Bhoti, Bundelkhandi, English, English-Bengali, English-Hindi, English-Marathi, English-Tamil, English-Tulu, English-Urdu, Gondi, Gujarati, Haryanvi, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Kora (Bengali Script), Korku, Kumaoni, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Pawari, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali (Bengali Script), Santali (Ol Chiki), Sindhi, Surjapuri, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu

Languages from Africa

Acholi, Afrikaans, Amharic, Asante Twi, Ateso, Chinyanja, Ewe, Fante, Hausa, Igbo, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Kikuyu, Kirundi, Kiswahili, Kumam, Luganda, Lumasaaba, Lusoga, Rukiga, Setswana, Yoruba

Languages from Europe

Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Kabuverdianu, Macedonian, Norwegian, Occitan, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Latin Script), Serbian (Cyrillic Script), Spanish

Languages from Asia

Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Bangla (Bangladesh), Basa Jawa, Basa Sunda, Cantonese (Traditional), Cebuano-Cebu, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Farsi, Filipino, Hebrew, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Pashto, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Vietnamese

Languages from North America

Chatino, Mixe, Triqui