Teach 75 mothers to read stories to kids in Kenya

by Maria's Libraries
Jul 9, 2013

Mama Mtoto Goes Digital

Mamas with the iPads
Mamas with the iPads

Dear Friends of Maria’s Libraries,

Since 2009, the $8,971 investment from theGlobal Giving community enabled Maria’s Libraries’ Kitabu Kenya network to teach 60 young mothers to read storybooks to their children. As part of the program, the Mamas recorded an oral tale from their community which was published to use as part of the program. Maria’s Libraries is pleased to let you know that these books are now getting a professional boost in two different ways.

“It [Mama Mtoto] has also reminded us about the stories we had forgotten” - Participant from Mama Mtoto

The first round of Mama Mtoto was a huge hit, but it was not without its challenges. We had trouble finding enough books in languages the mamas felt comfortable reading in. In addition, the mamas let us know they wanted more.  They were eager to support their children’s education, but, having not gone very far in school themselves, they did not know how. Last October, Mama Mtoto won the Beyond Access Library Innovators Award to work on a digital version of the books that can address these challenges. Not only will the books be interactive to support learners with low levels of literacy, the books will also allow the libraries at each site to directly input their own language, reinventing the publishing model for local language books.  We’ve already started teaching the mamas how to use digital books, starting with Harold and the Purple Crayon. The next step is to get their feedback on their own book, so that as the book is developed their views are represented.

"My kids were asking if the books can be sold. Then their friends could buy the book, to see their moms and the story from Busia" - Participant from Mama Mtoto

Maria’s Libraries is also working with Africa Soma and the Global Books Foundation to publish a Mama-Mtoto Storytime line of storybooks. Global Books is also partnering with the Academy of Global Citizenship in Chicago to design lesson plans for elementary students based on the books. Proceeds from the sale of the books will go towards sustaining the Mama Mtoto program. We are hoping to publish the books by the end of July!

As you can see, investment in the Mama Mtoto program goes a long way. Currently, we are raising funds to continue to develop the digital book.  Your continued support is much appreciated!



Learning with Harold and the Purple Crayon
Learning with Harold and the Purple Crayon

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Organization Information

Maria's Libraries

Location: Brooklyn, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mariaslibraries.org
Maria's Libraries
Project Leader:
Eva Kaplan
Brooklyn, NY Kenya

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