The second day of April is celebrated across the
world as International Children’s Book Day
and to mark this event Pratham Books organized story-telling
sessions in different locations in the city. These
sessions were done in order to encourage a reading
habit amongst children by giving them a peek into
the wonderful world of fiction.
The book chosen was “The Quirquincho and the
Fox”, an Argentinian folk tale about an armadillo
that outwits the cunning fox and hundreds of children
from different walks of life came together to listen
to and read the same story on that day.
Pratham Books partnered with the Hippocampus Reading
Foundation and Akshara Foundation to make this possible.
The day started by children gathering into Akshara’s
libraries in five areas of the city where they were
mesmerized by story-tellers, many of whom were from
the world of theatre. They watched and listened
with rapt attention as puppets danced around the
room to make the story come alive.
Similar sessions were also held at Public Libraries,
the Hippocampus centres and Landmark bookstore.
Arundhati Nag, Bangalore’s favourite theatre
person and the driving force behind Rangashankara,
transported children into another world through
her story telling session at Landmark. Dressed as
the Quirquincho she used gunnysacks filled with
corn and potatoes to describe details of the story.
In fact, many of the parents were as enveloped in
the world of fantasy and fiction as their children.
Speaking at the event, Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson,
Pratham Books highlighted the importance of reading
amongst children. “Pratham Books is beyond
just a publishing house as we are a part of a national
movement to get more children reading. Our belief
is that if books are attractive and affordable we
will be able to create a shift in the paradigm for
publishing children’s books in India”,
"The Quirquincho and
the Fox" and "The Magic Powder" are
the first in a series of international folk tales
that Pratham Books has published.
Pratham books is a partner organization which has
been set up as part of our national drive called
“Read India” which is aimed at getting
every child to read well.
To find out more visit www.prathambooks.org
A set of 50 Readers for 1st Std have already
been designed and delivered to Janashala,
Dept. of Education and the Government of Karnataka
in July 2004. Subsequently 50 Readers for
2nd Std have also been completed and handed
over in Jan 2005.
The Readers follow the graded pattern as per
the Learning Ladder of the Nali-Kali methodology
of teaching. Under this system children do
not follow textbooks but are encouraged with
a lot of activity based learning. Hence “Readers”
were created to fulfill this need for graded
l The effort was to make the books child-friendly,
attractive and interesting.
l Importance was given to use of humour, fun
and family values as vehicles for the stories.
l Themes also related to environment awareness,
kindness to animals, math concepts, personal
hygiene and correct nutrition.
l Some books have illustrations by child artists.
Experts from DSERT, SRC Mysore, Teachers,
and Resource persons were involved at various
stages of preparation and their suggestions
have been incorporated into the Readers.
These Readers have been printed by Unicef
and distributed to children in 10 Blocks of
Karnataka, where teachers and students alike
have welcomed them. The team at Unicef has
warmly appreciated our effort. In fact, we
have received requests for the books from
general public as well!
Akshara Foundation has just completed five eventful
years in Bangalore. During this period it has helped
provide primary education to over a lakh of children
in and around Bangalore city.
The fifth anniversary celebration was a fit occasion
to reflect on Akshara’s programmes and celebrate
the efforts of its staff and local volunteers.
The exhibition was titled “ Five Smiling
Years of Akshara “ and it showcased the
efforts of the organization and its impact on
children. It highlighted the various programme
interventions and their impact over the five years.
The Hon. Minister for Primary and Secondary Education,
Government of Karnataka, Shri R. Ramalinga Reddy,
inaugurated the exhibition.
Shri Reddy lauded the efforts of Akshara Foundation
in partnering with the Government to achieve complete
literacy in the State. The State Government, he
mentioned, had plans to open 218 schools this
year. It also planned to open 58 residential schools
in places where the literacy rate is poor among
women. Shri Reddy requested Dr. Rajkumar Khatri,
State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,
who was present, to actively support Akshara to
continue their education programmes in Bangalore
and other Districts of Karnataka.
Smt. Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Akshara Foundation
stated in her address that over the years, Akshara
has emerged as a community-driven force, involving
multiple stake-holders in the process of achieving
universal elementary education. Recognizing Akshara’s
efforts in this area, she mentioned that there
were plans to bring more children under the umbrella
of the Foundation’s activities.
The Fifth Anniversary Celebrations included an
enjoyable two-hour cultural programme presented
by Akshara volunteers. It brought to light the
varied talents of our volunteers in the field
of music, drama and dance and compering!
The prize distribution ceremony on the occasion
recognized the efforts of the team who were primarily
responsible for the success of the programmes
on ground. Over 40 members were felicitated for
good performance by Shri Ramalinga Reddy, Smt.
Rohini Nilekani, Sri Ashok Kamath(Managing Trustee)
and Col. Murthy Rajan (Chief Operations Officer)
The programme concluded on an upbeat note. It
was truly a memorable day for the Akshara Family!