Six storybooks designed to provide young learners in Anganwandis and Primary Schools that delve into the rich tapestry of Meghalaya’s heritage were launched by the Sauramandala Foundation, in collaboration with Pratham Storyweaver and the Department of Educational Research.
These six books represent the initial batch from a grand collection of 45 storybooks that were curated as part of the “Forgotten Folklore Project.” They also seek to capture the intricate cultural nuances, diverse lifestyles, rich flora and fauna, and the fascinating history of Meghalaya’s various communities and in turn contribute to early childhood development in the state.
The launch event was held in collaboration with the Department of English at St Anthony’s College which was attended by representatives from the government, local storytellers, artists, and the Sauramandala Foundation team.
“With the new gadgets and platforms like social media, we find ourselves drifting away from our culture. Reviving these stories is a win-win situation for everyone. It’s crucial to emphasize context, especially in the realm of education” Director of School Education & Literacy Swapnil Tembe said.
“We identified the problem of the lack of contextualized content in Meghalaya a few years back. While there have been previous efforts to translate existing storybooks into regional languages, we understood that those books still lacked the essence. The communities here are already rich in culture and heritage; we wanted to capture that and provide heroes, characters, and stories to the children that they can relate to,” founder of Sauramandala Nagakarthik MP said.
These six published books and the 39 more in the pipeline are the result of a year-long journey. The team invested a substantial amount of time and effort in visiting communities, comprehending the cultural nuances, and collaborating with storytellers and artists from the region to ensure that every character and every book is tailored perfectly for the children, Nagakarthik added.
“We understand the sensitivity in creating books for children, and we have taken every step toward crafting books that are authentic, informative, and entertaining,” Lanuangle Tsudir, Project Lead of the project said.
During the programme, students were also treated to a captivating story reading session led by Mebanda Blah Dkhar, featuring two of the newly published titles, ‘Ambi’s Little Things’ and ‘The Tunes of Kongthong.’
A panel discussion on the theme, ‘Preserving Cultural Identity Through Storytelling: The Significance for Early Childhood Development’ was also organised on the occasion.