February 12, 2016
BENEFITING: Richardson Center for Global Engagement
Update: "Elections are important but they will come and go. Education is forever" --Tin Ma Ma Htet (Tess) at CGI
This past Sunday, our lovely classmate, teacher trainer, and storyteller Tess was interviewed by Chelsea Clinton during the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting and talked about our Third Story Project. In the company of some heavy hitters, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner, she talked about how important it is to educate children on issues of peace. After the ceremony, she met with President Bill Clinton and gave our books to Chelsea's baby daughter. Thanks Tess!!
The Third Story Project
Books for All Children in Myanmar
Founded in 2014, the Third Story Project has created and is producing a children’s book series in Burmese and other ethnic languages. Books are distributed free of charge; to date over 80,000 books have been given to children all across Myanmar in every state and division.
Myanmar is currently struggling with tolerance within its very diverse borders after generations of repression by totalitarian regimes. Because there is now more freedom of expression and light being shed on areas that haven’t had much attention in the past, there is a greater need to talk about peace and tolerance at all levels and not let the loudest, angriest voices determine the direction of the country. Educating children on peace is the best way to combat these negative ideas from indoctrinating the next generation.
Our small organization is the only book producer in Myanmar that focuses on messages of peace for the under 12 audience. Each book includes discussion questions at the end to be sure that teachers, parents and volunteers are talking about these critical issues in a simple way.
The Third Story Project, a collaborative effort between the Myanmar Storytellers and the Benevolent Youth Association, creates stories written and illustrated by Myanmar artists for a Myanmar audience that address issues of peace, tolerance and diversity. All donations go toward funding more free books in Myanmar languages so that children can have a book of their very own. For every $25 donation on Crowdrise, you can download one of our books for free and provide 50 free books to children in Myanmar.
Most children in Myanmar do not have any books of their own that are in their own language or that reflect their own culture. A valuable outcome of this project is that tens of thousands of children now have the pride of having a beautiful, colorful book of their own. Each child has cherished his or her own book and by reading and rereading the book, it only reinforces the peace education message.
Our fundraising goals:
Seed money for English learner books
We have translated our existing books into English and simplified it to use for English language learners in the Myanmar context. All ten books are ready for printing but we need seed money to cover printing costs so that we can sell them at a reasonable price to schools and educators. Each book teaches vocabulary as well as delivering a message of tolerance. Many teachers have asked us to provide English language books that also reflect Myanmar culture so we’re trying to respond to demand.
Library in a box: 3 copies of all 10 books and a teachers’ guide for schools
While some schools may have libraries, they are usually off limits to children in order to keep the books pristine. We’d like to change that and provide a little library in a box that is accessible to all children by working with teachers on how to use story in their classrooms and create a space for children to read books.
More original books
Now that we have a year under our belts, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a beautiful story. It takes more time than expected to fine tune the story, create beautiful illustrations, edit it four more times and then send it to print. But, that also means that creative young people have learned how to tell a story and we have many more authors excited to pen the next best children’s book.
Books in ethnic languages
Did you know Myanmar has over 125 ethnic languages? We have translated the books into many different ethnic languages but the books go quickly since there is such a high demand. We would love to provide more books to the communities that have very few, if any, children’s books in their own language.
Check out our Facebook page for more information and adorable photos: thirdstorychildrenbooks
**The Richardson Center grants the full amount of the donation directly to the Third Story Project in Myanmar.