Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Freedom to Read

In August last year, the digital team started thinking of the different ways in which we could mark StoryWeaver's first birthday. Lots of ideas were tossed around, till we hit on an idea: a concerted effort to add stories in 15 new languages to the platform for children to read and enjoy.

Yesterday (February 21, 2017) on International Mother Language Day, our 'Freedom to Read' campaign has come to a close. And we are proud to say that through the campaign, we have helped community users, translators and NGOs add stories in 13 new languages to StoryWeaver. These languages represent the linguistic diversity of the world: from tribal languages to endangered languages to the mainstream.


Here are just some of the amazing community crusaders who have been a part of the journey.

Jèrriais a Norman language spoken in Jersey, off the coast of France has been in decline over the past century. Anthony Scott Warren, one of the few Jerriais teachers left in the region discovered StoryWeaver through the All Children Reading Website, and requested that we add this ‘threatened’ language to the platform. Read more about how he and his colleagues plan to use StoryWeaver to teach the next generation Jerriais here.

Muhamadreza Bahadur reached out to us to add Kurdish which is categorised as ‘an endangered language’ to StoryWeaver. Muhamadreza shared that he was keen to translate children’s stories to the language for two main purposes; promoting literacy in the languages among Kurdish children, and second, to help populate and enrich the corpus of literature in the language. Kurdish is available in both the Arabic and Latin script and 21 stories have been translated.

“Saurashtra is a language spoken by a group that migrated from Gujarat two centuries ago to cities like Madurai, Chennai and Tanjore. The script for this language is no longer in use and while it does follow the Devanagiri system, many native speakers cannot read Hindi. The only languages available to write Saurashtram are English and Tamil.” wrote Pavithra Solai Jowahar who asked us to add her mother language and has been busy translating stories and creating a book of rhymes in the languages. Read her story here.

Gnanaharsha Beligatamulla was searching the internet for stories to read to his child when he stumbled across StoryWeaver. “I really enjoyed reading the stories and the platform inspired me to want to translate stories to Sinhala for my daughter. If other parents can use the stories too that would be wonderful!”

Rebeka Gemeinder’s mother tongue is Swiss German (Alemannisch), a language spoken in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Liechtenstein. Unfortunately the language gets lost more and more everyday as she writes in a blog post for us. Read it here.

Amelia Bonea is a historian based at the University of Oxford. Originally from Romania, she has lived and worked in Japan, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. When not engaged in academic research, she likes to read and translate children’s literature, most recently on StoryWeaver. Read Amelia's lovely blog post, here.

Maharani Aulia has been one of our most prolific Indonesian translators. An author of children’s stories and non-fiction work, Maharani has written biographies and contributed to anthologies. She has also translated more than 110 children and young adult books from English into Indonesian.Her passion for children’s picture books, and dream of writing one lead her to Pratham Books StoryWeaver. “At first I just downloaded stories in English to learn. But my friend told me that we can also translate stories into our language. So, I translated one story and found I couldn’t stop because I wanted more stories on StoryWeaver to be read by Indonesians, especially children.” Maharani believes that India and Indonesia are similar. “The two countries are multicultural, have many interesting stories that should be spread and shared. So, I will still translate stories on your website. Maybe someday I will contribute with my original stories.”

Taking stories to children around the world

As all content on StoryWeaver is openly licensed, many organisations around the world have discovered, adapted, translated and used content from the platform. Little Thinking Minds has created the first ever online reading platform to advance Arabic literacy in schools. Read how they are using StoryWeaver, by clicking here.

The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program is selecting and adapting content from StoryWeaver’s collection of children’s books for local language e-book initiatives. Read more about their work here.

A big, big, thank you to the amazing StoryWeaver community across the world who have translated and created stories and shared them with children. If you'd like to translate stories in your mother tongue, and can't find it on StoryWeaver write to us at storyweaver(at)prathambooks(dot)org and we'll add it!

blog comments powered by Disqus