In late February 2013 Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands gathered with leaders from the education and international development sectors to participate in an event hosted by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in Washington, DC.
One of the global challenges that GPE and others are trying to overcome is how to bridge the gaps that prevent all children everywhere from reading. One particular challenge of interest to SIL LEAD is adequate literature for smaller language groups. The endeavor of getting more books into the hands of young readers is certainly challenging and as the princess herself noted many times in the meetings, “You have to build the bridge as you walk on it.”
With a shared concern for all children reading in their own language, Paul Frank of SIL LEAD and the princess got a chance to meet and talk about the work of SIL LEAD and its concern for minority language communities using their mother tongues to improve their quality of life.
Paul shared his thoughts on the desire for these communities to have stories written in their own language and for children to have access to this literature both in the classroom and at home. Paul also discussed one of SIL’s latest technologies called Bloom to aid in the task of getting books into the hands of minority language speakers. A simple software tool, Bloom fosters local authorship and literature for even the smallest language communities. Authors with minimal computer and writing skills can participate in the book creation and publishing process, helping to grow a simple but robust library of linguistically and culturally appropriate books for children and their families.
SIL LEAD presented Princess Laurentien with her own book called Tales of a Nice Princess: Operation Storybook, so that she could see how Bloom, with a little creativity from the authors, can create a book. (For more on Bloom, visit our Technology page.)