Background• Literacy is a fundamental human right.• Yet, access to a basic education including literacy development is still restricted in many areas around the world.• While many programs exist in order to promote education in underserved areas, funding for these programs is mostly limited to sporadic aids, grants, scholarships, or other financial sources that often remain unsustainable for numerous reasons.
Overview of 1001 Stories• 1001 Stories is a literacy development program that differs from other programs (referred to earlier) in that it establishes a more sustainable economic model.• It establishes an economy that taps into a natural resource entitled to every individual – creativity.• The discussed model is designed to leverage the rapidly emerging social networking infrastructure and the global mobile network in developing countries to allow a self- empowering and self-sustaining blended entrepreneurship model for the underserved.
Overview of 1001 Stories• Heres how it works: o Our volunteers conduct storytelling workshops that teach children to use the Pocket School mobile learning device. o We collect these stories and the best work is published internationally in an array of mobile learning applications at “mobile application stores”. o The proceeds of these “mobile application sales” return to the storytellers, their families, and communities to promote entrepreneurship and support the local education system.
Objectives• Promote literacy; demonstrate how large of an impact they can make through education and literacy• Increase entrepreneurship skills and provide a means of sustainability• Provide technology experience, an essential skill in todays world• Develop critical thinking skills• Increase cultural awareness and global understanding as these stories are written and heard around the world• Foster creativity
Storytelling Workshops in Andhra Pradesh, India February 2011 Paul Kim Arafeh Karimi Kamakshi Duvvuru
The workshops were conducted in three schools:• Girijan Community School (Allipuram) o located in a rural town in the center of a community of Girijans, a low- ranking caste that is secluded from the rest of society o students: Most are Girijan and from migratory families• Drus Society Child Labor School (Nellore) o established by the National Child Labor Project (NCLP) in efforts to eliminate child labor and promote literacy o located in a relatively urban region of Nellore o students: previously engaged in child labor• Chandrababu Nagar School (Nellore) o established by NCLP o located in rural Nellore o small one-room school with thirty children o students: previously engaged in child labor
IntroductionAfter exchanging greetings, we introduced ourselves to thechildren and started by telling them that we came all the wayfrom America for them. Then, we asked them if they knewwhere America, India, and Korea were on the globe.
Sharing our StoriesDr.Kim pointed to Korea,showed them the hugedistance between Koreaand America, and thenbegan to tell the childrenhis personal story.He explained that heused to live in Korea,which was once a verypoor country. He went onto tell them that studyingday and night, despite thenumerous struggles, waswhat brought him all theway to America.
Sharing our StoriesWhen we asked them if they wanted to hear another story, theyscreamed "Yes" in unison! So, we read Jomopira and RealHero, stories written by African children. They listened intently.
• Jomopira and Real Hero are stories that teach values and were written by African children during a similar workshop.• They were so excited to find out that the stories were written by African children--children just like them.
When we finished reading,we asked who wanted tocome to the front of theclass and tell the story totheir classmates again.Our storyteller wasamazing! He retold thestory perfectly to hisclassmates in hislanguage, Telugu.
We asked them questions from the story to lead them to themoral. They had such insightful answers and were right ontrack!Us: "What qualitiesmust one have inorder to be able tohelp others?Money?"Children: "No! Therichest guy in towndid not help the hurtboy. The guy wasselfish."
Us: "Intelligence?""No. The smartest guy in town did not take the time out of hisday to help the boy."
Us: "What is it that you need then?"Children: "A kind heart! Helping nature!"
ExplorationTo familiarize the children with the PocketSchool mobilelearning devices before they had to use them in theirstorytelling, we gave them time to explore independently.We told them that we had no idea what these devices were orhow they worked, leaving it up to them to figure out what these"foreign devices" were!"We really need your help! No one in this room knows howthese devices work! It is up to you to find out and teach us!"
Only a few minutes after we split the children into groups of three andpassed out the devices, they figured out how to turn the devices on!
Once they discovered the various applications on the device, the levelof excitement in the room was indescribable!They loved the immediate feedback they received every time theytouched something on the screen.
Soon enough, theywere taking picturesand videos of eachother!They were so surprisedand excited when theyflipped through andfound the pictures theyhad just taken!
Since we told them that we knew nothing about the devices, they werecompletely on their own in figuring out how to use them.This made them even more motivated and, after a short while, they wereteaching us how to use the devices!
By the end of exploration time, they had already discoveredand experimented with so many different functions of thedevice:-eBook Maker-Taking photos-Viewing photos-Taking videos-Homework Management System-Audiobooks-Streaming educational videosThey were no longer "foreign devices", thats for sure!
Storytelling• Since they gained familiarity with the PocketSchool mobile learning devices, they were ready for storytelling time in which they needed to use the devices to record each others stories.• So, NOW, it was their turn to share stories!• We told them that the best stories would be collected, illustrated, and published.• "Do you want your stories to be heard around the world, like Jomopira and Real Hero? Will you tell us stories?", we asked. "You can tell us any story! You can talk about helping your friends, about a day in your life, or a story you created."• "Yes! We are ready!", they answered.
During their lunch break, allthe children thought aboutwhich story they would tell.When they returned, ingroups of three, the childrentook turns videotaping eachothers stories!
The stories told by these children were truly compelling.While some told creative stories modeled after village folktales, othersshared intimate stories about incidents with their friends and family. Venkataramana, part of a migrant family, told us an old rhyme about an egg that talks to a cow, making the whole class laugh. In class, he was the jokester. But, at home, as we found out from his story, he played a different role. He shared with us that he and his family are sometimes so hungry that they scream for hours at a time.
IntroductionChildren identifying America, India, and Korea on the globe
Sharing our storiesDr. Kim telling his personal story
They all loved the story! When Dr.Kim asked them questions,they answered quickly and excitedly. They grasped the moral ofhis story immediately!Dr.Kim: "What do you need in order to succeed? Does it matter where you grow up?"Children: "No!"Dr.Kim: "Does it matter what clothes you wear?"Children: "No!"Dr.Kim: "Then what do you need?" Children: “Education! With education we can be all we want to be!”
When asked, they all were eager to hear another story! So, weread Jomopira and Real Hero stories.
Storytelling"Now, it is your turn to share! Are you ready?"
They hesitated at first, but then with a little encouragement, theclassroom was bustling! They began talking to each other,thinking of stories, and writing away!
After giving them time to think ofstories, we asked them to comeup to the front of the room andread each of their stories aloud.Whether they creativelyconstructed a new story, gave adetailed account of a real event,or portrayed an important value,their stories amazed us.
Ishwari, 11Aspiring DoctorIshwari told us a story that explains the importance of studying hard despitecircumstances. Her story is about a little girl who is not good at her studies and cannever seem to get it right, despite her poor familys efforts to support her. Anencounter with a special stranger changes everything for the girl, making her seethat if she puts her mind to it and concentrates, she can achieve anything.Rajesh, 11Aspiring Mechanical EngineerRajesh told us a unique story, clearly a product of critical thinking, that verycreatively combined the educational values from Dr. Kims story, the plot ofJomopira, and the helping values from Real Hero.Sahera, 14Aspiring TeacherSahera, previously a child laborer, said that she once had the chance to visit thetown library and read books about helping people. She said that she soon realizedthat it was not enough for her alone to benefit from this information and showedthese books to younger children in the village.
We called all the children who read their stories aloud to cometo the front of the class. Their classmates then voted on whothey thought had the best stories!
Children at the Chandrababu school were natural storytellers!The only prompting they needed was, "Tell us about yourselves."Their responses were not the usual descriptions of names andparents occupations but instead were a series of very personalstories.
One after the other, they spoke sincerely and reflectivelyabout various aspects of their lives and what they hoped forin their futures.
It was finally their time to share! Seeing how amazingly theyconveyed their feelings and experiences without beingprompted, we could not wait to hear what stories these childrenwould tell when they were actually asked to share.
And like we imagined, we were awe-struck. Here are a few ofthe stories they shared with us: Sasikala, 11 Sasikala comes to school every day and manages to smile, though, back home, her father has resorted again to drinking and beating his family. Sasikala was determined to figure out what was wrong. Chandini, 11 Chandini had the happiest day of her life when her dad worked extra hard and bought her new clothes to subdue her tears on her birthday. She hadn’t felt that happy in a long, long time, she says. Rajesh, 11 Rajeshs father had a medical problem for which has family could not afford treatment. He bared it as long as he could--until he could no longer take the pain. At that moment, Rajeshs father hanged himself. He and his siblings were shocked at the sight of this terrible incident.
Rajesh, eleven years old, tells us as we leave the school that he haslearned one thing: “No matter who you are and what is happening athome, you have to keep coming to school and studying hard.”
After collecting the stories from these amazing children, a new missionbegins--voicing the children’s stories and bringing them back, fullcircle. Alex Bonk Illustrator
Future Plans• Collect Stories from other countries, including Pakistan, Argentina, Zambia, Palestine,…
Future Plans• Publish stories in hard copy and return those proceeds to children as well• Return to rural villages and urban slums and redistribute the same stories that these children have written in order to spread values and hope
These stories gave us a peek into these childrens lives, makingus realize what it must take for these children to show up toschool every day, by choice.It makes us realize how much courage, determination,and perseverance these children, even as young as eight, havefor not letting their circumstances hold them back.While an integral outcome of the 1001 Stories cycle is theeconomic support and sustainability it provides, we hope, evenmore, that it serves as proof and assurance that these childrensefforts will not go to waste, will pay off, and will lead to greatthings.
Be a Part of the Story!• Meet us at www.seedsofempowerment.org• Follow us at Facebook: – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seeds-of- Empowerment/215464395149325• Read our stories on iPhone. Look up for “Seeds of Empowerment” in App Store.• Buy our books at Amazon: – http://www.amazon.com/This-who-Seeds-Empowerment- ebook/dp/B002T45WEE – http://www.amazon.com/Good-bye-love-Empowerment- ebook/dp/B002T45V5O – http://www.amazon.com/Who-real-hero-Empowerment- ebook/dp/B002RWJ6JK