Monday, June 22, 2009

Information from Conference attendees Margaret Beckett and Paula Gains

From Margaret Beckett:
Dear All,
My name is Margaret, and I have been working for 3 years here in Tanzania. Our project seeks to achieve a range of objectives, including establishing an orthography for the Rangi language which is spoken by over 400,000 people here in Central Tanzania. We are working with Rangi people in preserving culture and traditions in written form, and also working with Rangi people in writing books in the Rangi language. I am most interested in ways of teaching basic literacy skills to people living in rural contexts in oral cultures. If they can learn to read first in the language they feel think and speak in most easily, we hope to be able to continue from this foundation, and enable those who wish to read in Kiswahili, the national language of Tanzania, to do so. Many people groups in Tanzania live in comparable rural villages, speaking some Kiswahili, but mainly using their Mother tongue. We hope our work may be helpful to others in similar contexts. I am also interested in community literacy and women's literacy, as both of these can, I believe, impact positively on family health and well being, and children’s development and education.I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing ideas and experiences in the field of literacy.

Response from Paula Gains at the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy
Hi Margaret Beckett,
The Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy, based in South Africa, is also involved in and passionate about mother tongue literacy. Our Breakthrough to Literacy programme is in nine sub-saharan countries in Africa and is currently translated into 51 African languages, including !Xun, Khwedam and Nama, the threatened languages of the San and Khwe people. Please visit our website for further information about what we do. I hope that we can meet at the conference to talk about possible synergies.Paula Gains

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