Friday 6 September 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Snehadhara Foundation

This International Literacy Day, Pratham Books has taken a 1000 steps towards a 'Reading India'

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. Last year Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day and we conducted over 250 storytelling sessions. This year we are delighted that over a 1000 sessions are happening across the length and breadth of the country.We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Gitanjali from Snehadhara Foundation shared the following story on the Snehadhara Foundation blog. Snehadhara Foundation is a registered non-profit organization based in Bangalore that works with children and adults who are differently-abled, their caregivers and families.

From the Snehadhara Foundation blog : 

Paplu, the Giant - ready to travel

What is it about a story that makes us want to listen to it? It’s simple, It is not something that can be explained but it has to be experienced. This holds true for all that has to do with Arts as well. It transcends time and space, with imagination set afloat , no limit to where one can reach. As a storyteller, with every word an unthreaded map follows- a key for listeners to open their mind to a treasure trove of journeys.

Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts. —Salman Rushdie

At the Foundation, teachers and facilitators decided to celebrate Teacher’s day a bit differently this year. We set out with a story, a pot-puppet, drums and a couple of songs, to reach out to schools and organisations around South Bangalore. Our intent was to use the arts; in myriad possibilities, whether to build acceptance or make connects within communities. What better way than to use stories!

Paplu, the giant

We signed up with Pratham Books Champions who were celebrating International Literacy Day through 'One Day-One Story' campaign. The idea behind the campaign was for people to sign up with Pratham, who sent us a book they had chosen for this year’s campaign, we read the story to children on International Literacy Day – 7th Sept. The book chosen for this year's campaign was 'Paplu, the Giant' – written by Ramendra Kumar and Illustrated by Zainab Tambawalla. 

Paplu, the giant was our teacher’s day gift to the lives of many who have shown us ways of seeing and learning. As teachers we have been constantly challenged by our children who have driven us to look at learning upside down and inside out while we are side stepping many other thoughts – in short “there is a lot to learn from our little teachers”.
Making Paplu's face

Creating Paplu's village

Paplu's village
The two-week celebration had our children evolving Paplu with us. We had activities around the story – a collage made the back-drop, we tied up some bamboo sticks and patched up a pot to make a Paplu mascot, stuck many cut-up pieces of cloth to make the large dress for Paplu, practised songs and made-up mantras.

In no-time we had storytelling sessions lined-up in Jayanagar Parents Association, Mysore Educational Welfare Society, Deepika School, Brindavan Educational Trust, Belaku Shishu Nivasa and a government school in Uttarahalli.

As Paplu travelled through different spaces, our motley crew of storytellers spoke in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, English and often in Gibberish. With every space, the story evolved and had improvised versions as children added to the story. Making it all the more a one-in-a kind experience for the storyteller! Paplu fought Raavanaboole with the Primary children at JPA School and met Paapanna with the middle school children at MEWA; he went through a Sci-Fi journey with the seniors at Brindavan Educational Trust while he resided with the children at Belaku Shishu Nivasa. 

Starry-eyed children from Jayanagar Parents Association School

At parent teacher association
Little tailors making Paplu's clothes
Paplu being introduced at Parent Association

Paplu attacking

As the little ones watched in wonder, the rest caught up on the songs even before we sang them aloud. The studs stood up on benches for a balcony view, while the ribbon bows watched in wonder. While a smarty from the crowd wanted the storyteller to chant the magic mantra in reverse, another wanted to know if there was a snake hidden in the drums. For the storytellers, characters in the story came alive with a rush of energy from every awe-struck face, in wonder! 

Enthusiastic bunch from middle school at Mysore Educational Welfare Association

A warm up to fight Angaar 

Mewa school children helping Paplu

Mewa school tailors

Sad Paplu. Do I belong here?

Paplu celebrating his victory at Mewa school

What would you do if you were Paplu?

Besides requests for Paplu and the storytellers to dance to lungi-dance, children jumped into the story at every chance possible. They had several questions about the story and the centre. We had John a down’s syndrome adult accompany us as the main tech-head; he clicked pictures and made acquaintances with the senior children.

Imaginarium of the senior school at Brindavan Educational Trust

At Brindavan, Paplu’s story turned into a Sci-fi flick with radiating light beams turning him into a giant and self-prophesied magic mantras bringing him back to human size. He shifted to Towbowlu Town and got a swanky nickname, Paplu Taplu. Some generous tailors wanted to give away their shirts to shy Paplu. Others dragged their teachers into the story by starring Purva as Paplu’s mom – Purvamma and another Vaishali as Soni.

Talented bunch at Belaku Shishu Nivasa 

The most attentive and participative bunch! They picked up on every detail of the story, learned complicated mantras on a single chant and followed the story with relevant questions. We had Ahan, a child from the centre watching over us from his balcony seat, also attentive like the others.

Paplu withnessed Aah...ahh..ah Antakshari sessions at BMES, Byrasandra

 Some more pictures :

Little tailors making Paplu's clothes 

Walking the tale

Workshop tailors
Thank you Snehadhara Foundation for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

This blog contains stories sent in by all our champions. Browse through the blog for more stories. You can also go through the tags on the right side of the blog to find stories happening in your own city.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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