The potential impact of the Advocacy-Development e-book project is huge. The Turning point children come from a literacy-starved environment. The reading material in the slum mostly consists of hand painted signs on the local vegetable stalls or hair salons, and perhaps the occasional newspaper. Even for those in education, most schools do not have enough basic text books, let alone picture books or story books.
So what effect does it have growing up without books? Words not only have their own sound, flow, and force, but they create and stir feelings in us. They can make us angry or help us feel understood. They can raise questions or inspire creativity. They are not only to be read, but to be heard aloud. Hearing the stories of others is a powerful experience, and starts to shape our voice as we think about our own story. What was my beginning? If it was as a slum child, does that automatically mean the rest of the story is already written, with an inevitable ending? Or could it be different?
If I start to believe that my story is unique and worth telling, then it affirms that I myself am also unique and have worth. It helps me understand that I have power and a voice - perhaps limited by some external factors - but my words can shape, can heal, can ask, can influence, can demand. For a Kibera child this starts to open doors where before they couldn't even see doors, only the walls of disadvantage. And it is acheiveable with a laptop, a printer and some software! Through this project not only do they start to hear and enjoy a rich variety of books and stories, but find and develop their own voice, in small and simple age-appropriate ways. To see their own story published in an e-book and printed in a version they can hold and share with others, is a very significant moment.
Progress towards the e-book project has been slower than anticipated, partly due to funding still needed and partly due to recent security issues in Kibera which have limited what equipment we are able to take in to the centre of the slum. Despite these obstacles, we remain committed to this project, and to helping each child find their own voice, and shape their own future.
Advocacy Development Ebook Project's Blog
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