Every Language Teaches Us (ELTU): Empowering Children Through Multilingual Education
By; Brigid Munyiri, Intern, PAL Network
When I joined PAL Network, the first project I was able to work on was the Every Language Teaches Us (ELTU) project with my team. It’s been an exciting project that promotes literacy in native languages and helps children learn about their cultures and traditions. By creating an open repository for children to access resources in their native languages, ELTU is making a difference.
The ELTU project is a multi-country initiative that aims to help children gain foundational literacy skills in their mother tongues. The resources in the open repository microsite (http://eltu.palnetwork.org) come from 50 languages in 8 different countries. We gathered a variety of cultural treasures like songs, stories, riddles, and more from these countries. The microsite is a valuable asset for kids, schools, teachers, and society. By offering resources in local languages, the ELTU project promotes literacy and multilingualism. This initiative is remarkable as it will ensure accessibility to these resources for children.
To upload the ELTU resources on the Microsite, we started by organizing them in spreadsheets with the original and translated versions. We then added titles and descriptions to make them easily identifiable. Finally, we created different layouts for the resources in pdf, mp4, and png formats. We made sure to include YouTube links alongside the audio and video resources. It took a while to put together the resources, but it was worth it. Now, children have the amazing opportunity to learn how to read in their native languages, allowing them to both preserve their cultures and develop essential skills that are deeply rooted in their communities. This will foster a stronger connection and understanding of their heritage, enhancing their relationship with their community.
Having an accessible microsite for children from humble backgrounds in the villages is truly a game changer. Many of these children lack access to quality education, making these resources invaluable for their cognitive and emotional development. By offering these resources, we can boost literacy rates and assist children in embracing their cultural heritage and identity. Children can also explore resources from different countries, fostering their curiosity and understanding of a variety of cultures. By providing access to literature from different countries, this project promotes global awareness and encourages children to embrace cultural diversity. It’s a wonderful way for them to broaden their perspectives and develop a sense of empathy and respect for others.
Also, this project addresses the lack of teaching-learning materials by creating resources that are culturally appropriate and accurate. We carefully considered the cultural context and ensured that the materials reflect the cultural heritage and identity of the students. This will help to enhance their engagement, understanding, and connection with the content, ultimately promoting effective learning outcomes. It will particularly be beneficial for schools and teachers facing budget limitations, as it provides access to quality educational materials.
Working on this project has enabled me to gain insights into promoting literacy and fostering cultural learning. It has also allowed me to enhance my IT skills by helping in optimizing site navigation and improving the overall user experience for the microsite. Like Rita Mae Brown, an American author says, “Language is the roadmap of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going”. The ELTU project is definitely an inspiring initiative that celebrates the power of language and cultural identity.