Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sangita's Singing. An International Launch in Kathmandu in the National Year of Reading

 Bec, Director of Mitrataa launching the book Sangita's Singing 

Children's Day celebrated Bollywood style 

Sangita's Singing. An International Launch in Kathmandu in the National Year of Reading

It was Children's Day, Friday 14th September 2012, at a Community Centre in Kathmandu. I was with Rebecca and Adam Ordish, founders of the Mitrataa Foundation I work with, that looks after the welfare of girls and women, for the launch of my new book for young people, Sangita's Singing.   The 32 page book  set in Nepal has a long text so is for older readers, with marvelous artwork by Nepali artist Bandana Tulachen with whom I worked over two years developing her artwork for picturebook presentation.
 Sangita's Singing was launched in true Nepali style; hundreds in the noisy eager audience, a very fanciful draped stage, lots of prize presentations for literature and art, the actual launch of Sangita's Singing  with a reading by two students and after some wonderful dance groups celebrating the book and the day - think Bollywood style dancing!
We have planned a movie and have a director and producer in Nepal but are now in the fund raising stage and have decided to feature some of the wonderful Nepali dancing.

It was a  elebratory day but also time to  give pause and to think about the situation for girls and women in Nepal, the low literacy rate for both girls and boys, the level of poverty, the use of child labour, the struggle to get education for girls in particular, and the like. Mitrataa fights agains the odds to achieve education for girls from far flung villages by supporting them in schools in Kathmandu and running workshops for women to help them gain some education. To this end, the income from the sales of the book goes to Mitrataa to help this worthwhile cause. The Teacher Notes and Student Workshops will ensure it has many uses as well as being an enjoyable read.

On a final note, Sangita's Singing though set in Nepal has great significance for children everywhere. with its themes of transition (from country to city) of loneliness, of longing, of bullying, of overcoming fear, of friednship and of learning, not to mention the power of singing. The story speak to all children who have had similar experiences. It will be launched in Australia in 2013.

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