The HSBC Galle Literary Festival would be taking a fresh direction this year with the extension of its outreach programme to Jaffna with the support of Magic, Sri Lanka’s No. 1 Ice Cream brand and ‘One Trust Sri Lanka’ the philanthropic arm of Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, member of CT Holdings Group.
The festival organisers have received the volunteer participation of two international authors who would be the resource persons for these two events which would be held in Galle and Jaffna.
Amrita Pieris, Festival Director said: “This year we have Robert Crowther and Jeeva Raghunath attending the festival and they have kindly come forward to support the two free events that would target students and teachers from schools in Jaffna and Galle. They would focus on building their ability of creative expression which is especially therapeutic for our children who have seen and heard war and suffered from its impact in great part of their lives. The authors would also conduct Teacher workshops on the art of storytelling and harnessing the cultural skills of kids.”
325 children and 100 teachers to attend programmes in Galle and Jaffna
175 children from schools within the Galle Fort and 150 children and 100 teachers from Jaffna have been selected by their respective schools to attend these programmes. The Galle programme is to be held on 18 January while the Jaffna programmes would take place on 23 and 24 January.
Initiatives have also been taken by the Festival team along with Magic and One Trust to ensure the programmes have a multiplier impact on the communities they engage.
Ranjit Page, Deputy Chairman, Cargills said, “Cargills, our brands and our vision is all about creating opportunity for the people of Sri Lanka. The Galle Literary Festival is a wonderful concept that has great potential internationally and we want to see the dividends of this festival being taken to the disadvantaged communities as well. This is why we came forward to support the overall Children’s Programme with major emphasis on the community engagement aspect.”
Sustainability is key
“We are also working towards taking this initiative forward on a long term basis since Cargills is also about long term sustainable impact and we have plans to expand this initiative in a manner that children from different backgrounds can benefit from the Festival throughout the year,” the Deputy Chairman of Cargills noted.
Saluka Kotagama who coordinates the Children’s Programme for the Festival noted that special care has been taken to ensure teachers who attend the events utilise their knowledge to empower their students.
“We have developed a rewards programme for teachers to see how they utilise their new found skills. Their progress would be monitored and rewarded. Also at the conclusion if the event we would also be doing an impact assessment and identify ways and means to continue the momentum gained.
Together with Magic and One Trust we hope to have a consistent engagement with these kids and also expand our impact through other programmes that would complement this effort.”
Robert Crowther –
Robert Crowther is a world renowned children’s author acclaimed for his pop-up books which are adventures of creative expression. He would be working with kids during the workshops to develop their own pop-up-book. Crowther published his first pop-up book, The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Alphabet Book, in 1978. It is still in print today.
He has now published over 35 books, including most recently a transport series for Walker Books – Trains, Flight, Ships, Cars and Amazing Pop-up Big Machines. Robert has produced numerous novelty books, earning him international acclaim and the affectionate moniker “Mr. Pop-up.” He frequently visits schools and libraries to do pop-up workshops for children of all ages.
Jeeva Ragunath and the art of story telling
Jeeva Ragunath started telling stories when she was 5 and has been evolving her story world ever since. She is a bilingual (English and Tamil) storyteller. Her repertoire includes a wide range of Indian and Asian folk-tales, European tales, family stories, true-life incidents, cross-cultural and modern stories.
She has visited 13 countries to tell her stories. Ragunath is also the author of seven children’s books and has translated 35 books. She would be developing the skills of expression among children and harness the art of story -telling during her interaction with teachers.
Main children’s events coinciding with the festival
Saluka explained: “The main Children’s Programme for which tickets are sold is always a popular line up where we have acclaimed Sri Lankan and International authors working with 5 to 14 years olds. The focus is to educate kids about social and environmental issues in Sri Lanka and also bring out their inherent talents, harness them and develop new skills. All this while having fun! We usually have 200 kids attending two days of events that run in parallel with the main festival.”
The two day events are to be held on 21 and 22 of January at Buona Vista, Galle and at the Light House Hotel respectively. Tickets priced at Rs. 2,000 are now sold online.