Monday, June 30, 2014

Books for Tribal Children in Odisha - in Their Own languages

The Times of India carried an article about our latest range of books in four tribal languages (Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga).

Via The Times of India

No doubt story books are source of wisdom for children and when it is written in your mother tongue then nothing like it. Tribal children of Odisha can now enjoy stories in their mother tongue.

Pratham Books, a not-for-profit-publisher, has launched 'Adi Kahani', a series of 10 story books and four song cards (songs with illustrations), in Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga languages. Child-centric themes, simple language and delightful illustrations in tribal art style are hallmarks of the books. A book contains one story.

The objective is to make reading fun and easy for tribal children, who find school lessons difficult to learn. The reason being the language is alien. "Lack of books in mother tongue is the main reason for alienation of tribal children from school education. These books are aimed at making learning fun for the children by making the process enjoyable, contextual and skill-oriented," said chief operating officer of Pratham Books, Himanshu Giri. A good story book is a perfect gateway to the world for pre-schoolers, he added.

A group of writers and poets, who are also native speakers, prepared at least 50 to 60 stories through which children between 3 to 6 years can get their first exposure to world of knowledge. All the stories were read out to children of respective tribal communities and 10 stories, which were liked the most by children, were selected. The books are bilingual - both in tribal and Odia languages - and written in Odia script.

"Creating these books was a year-long process. We tried to write stories to which children can relate to. So we selected the themes from our rich oral traditions having a huge collection of songs, riddles, sayings, games and tales," said Smruti Ranjan Jena, who coordinated the project.

After the publication of these books now it's necessary that these books reach for whom they are intended through mainstream distribution channels like state government's relevant departments and organizations, working with tribal groups, said head of content development, Manisha Chaudhury.

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