Redirecting the Spotlight

Redirecting the Spotlight

Dr. Susan Malone does not like to talk about herself. Not, she says, when “there are too many much more important things to talk about, such as the children in non-dominant language communities who are discriminated against in formal education systems.”

The strength of an organization is always its people, and SIL LEAD’s strength comes from the fact that its staff and associates always seem to insist on shining the spotlight away from themselves and onto the people with whom they work. In a world grown obsessed with the ephemera of fame, it is good to be reminded that everyone has a voice worth hearing, and that all too often some voices are silenced—either intentionally, or by failing to listen…

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Lepidopteras and Languages

Lepidopteras and Languages

Have you heard that the monarch butterfly population of California­­ is on the brink of collapse?

Even if you’ve never been to California to observe the monarchs, most of us have seen this iconic species on nature shows and in magazines, and have marveled at their seemingly endless numbers. But in the last few decades the population in California has plummeted from well over four million to just over twenty eight thousand, and scientists are predicting that without a dedicated effort toward their preservation, these delicate beauties could disappear from the planet forever….

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Bloom in Kenya - A Teacher’s Story

Bloom in Kenya - A Teacher’s Story

Wawerũ Mwangi is a high school teacher who lives and works in Naiyasha, Kenya. He’s a linguist by training and has written numerous high school textbooks, as well as vernacular texts for primary schools and a teacher’s guide in the Kikuyu language, which have been approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

All this would be quite enough to keep anyone busy, but Mr. Mwangi also loves to write stories…

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You Are Not Your Limitations

You Are Not Your Limitations

Chances are good that if you don’t deal with significant physical disability on a regular basis—whether your own or that of someone you care about—you rarely, if ever, think about all the amazing capabilities that your more normally-abled body affords. This is perfectly understandable. We all live our own lives, and it’s usually only in the face of jarring change or loss that we pause to reflect on what we have, or in some cases had. It can be tempting, then, to view occasional encounters with the disabled as though they somehow exist for us—as though their challenges were nothing more than a reminder of our health…

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More Than Good Intentions

More Than Good Intentions

There are many opportunities in the world of aid work for good intentions to have negative effects. Give everyone in a vulnerable population a pair of free shoes, for example, and before you know it you’ve bankrupted the local cobbler. Bring in a western-style agricultural program, and you might just discover that local resources won’t support it and you’ve created a cycle of dependence. That’s why we at SIL LEAD take very seriously our mission as a faith-based nonprofit to help local, community-based organizations use their own languages to improve their quality of life…

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The App That Changes Everything?

The App That Changes Everything?

It seems like every few weeks now we hear about some exciting new innovation in computer technology—a brand-new application that (at least according to the advertising hype) will upend life as we know it. For the deaf and hearing-impaired of the world, the Live Transcribe app Google rolled out in limited beta on Monday, February the 4th, certainly seems to be just such an earth-shaking new tool.

But is it really…?

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Now THAT'S a library!

Now THAT'S a library!

The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is easily the largest library in the entire world. It has over 167 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. If you walked for ten hours a day, it’d take you a month to walk past all those bookshelves. Pick even one category—say, comic books—and it would be impossible to read through the Library of Congress’s entire catalog in one lifetime (they have 120,000 comic books, and growing).

The Library of Congress is clearly a superlative institution, so when they choose to honor an organization at their yearly Literacy Awards, it’s a sign that that organization has made a significant impact in the quest to wipe out global illiteracy…

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