Ms. Vijaylakshmi Nagaraj telling the children (ages 3-12) the story Friends Forever.
Upon attending the storytelling workshop at Crossword in Bangalore, my two-week internship with Pratham Books commenced. I am a 16-year-old Indian student, born and brought up in the Netherlands, so an experience like this is exceptional. I felt that the storytelling and puppet-making workshop enabled children to interact with each other and explicitly express their creative nature.
For the majority of the workshop, I watched as Ms. Vijaylakshmi Nagaraj (Pratham Books’ very own puppeteer) taught the children how to make eco-friendly puppets while promoting the release of the book Dosti Ka Safar and in English Friends Forever. The book was written by Feisal Alkazi and illustrated by Neeta Gangopadhya and tells the tale of two trees whose relationship blossoms and is then thrown into a frenzy when the trees are made into toys. Forever Friends has been translated into eight different Indian languages and is written for children ages 11 to 14. After hearing the gist of the story the children created their favourite character in form of puppets, which were completely composed of eco-friendly material. The children were being taught that even the most unique pieces of art could be produced from the most simple materials: brown paper bags, craft paper, newspaper, rice or flour paste, coconut fibre, bamboo or cane sticks etc.
As an International Baccalaureate student I am rarely given the opportunity to see children interact with each other. I saw the youngest (3 year olds) being helped by the oldest (12 year olds) and with the contribution of Ms. Nagaraj created beautiful puppets. This was one of the most inspiring experiences for myself as it introduced me to new ways to help our increasingly depleting environment. I look forward to working with Pratham Books and being able to make even the slightest contribution to the world.
This is the YouTube link to a short video summary of the event.
This is the Flickr link to a slideshow of the event.