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Little Hands

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Archive for the ‘Namibia’ Category

The struggle to support African publishers

This morning I heard from a publisher West Africa who told me that the reason they cannot co-publish the Little Hands Books in local languages in her country is that there is now in this particular country donor funding for their Ministry of Education to produce books in mother tongue for young children aged 5-8 years to read in class. While this sounds like good news, and in many ways it is, it is also problematic, because they are doing this without including local publishers. The Ministry of Education can thus end up reinventing the wheel, learning how to do the work that publishers already know and giving local publishers even less chance to sell books than before.
It’s a huge problem – without supporting local publishers, there is so little chance of sustainability. Yet without donor funding, very little can happen at any significant scale.


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International Year of Languages

2008 is the United Nations International Year of Languages. Unesco is the lead agency for organising celebratory events, under the slogan, “Languages Matter!”

The Little Hands books are going to help to contribute to making the Year significant. They are now in 24 languages, and the African Union is set to hold an event in Addis Ababa where books in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Amharic will be displayed and then donated to children who speak these languages. Other ways for getting the books in appropriate languages distributed widely to children in Africa are being explored.

If you have ideas, please share them with us!


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Donations for Little Hands

Donations have been received from:

Knowledge iTrust, Chen Wang and Christina Kirshbaum to donate sets of books in Kinyarwanda, French, Kiswahili and English to be donated to children in Burundi and Rwanda via Concern USA.

The Chapel of Our Saviour in Colorado Springs, USA with the help of Judy Casey

Readers of Boeke Insig Magazine, who are supporting our drive to get books into the hands of young children.

Thank you!


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Why Little Books for Little Hands?

All young children love stories – they love being told them, and they love looking at picture books with someone special. In South Africa, a child who doesn’t speak English, or maybe Afrikaans, is often denied the pleasure of engaging with storybooks in their own language. In other parts of Africa, though it may be French or Portuguese rather than English, the situation is similar. And it is not an empty pleasure: story reading stimulates complex rich language and creativity – essential for healthy learning. It forms part of the elusive ‘culture of reading’ that is made up from all the apparently ‘natural’ daily activities with print that are taken for granted by those who have them.

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What is Stories Across Africa (StAAf)?

StAAf produced the Little Hands set of books to commemorate the Year of African Languages 2006-2007 and is now busy creating 3 anthologies of stories for children in early childhood, middle childhood and teens.

It is one of the core pan African project’s of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), the official language agency of the African Union (AU). Central co-ordination of the project is at the Early Literacy Unit of the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA), at the University of Cape Town. Regional co-ordination is handled by members of the StAAf steering committee in Tanzania (Joshua Madumulla), Rwanda (Suzana Mukobwajana), Ethiopia (Michael Ambatchew), Ghana (Jakalia Abdulai) and Egypt (Nadia El Kholy).

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