The Asia Foundation's Let's Read initiative partners with the HerStory Foundation to create a series of beautifully illustrated short stories featuring amazing and resilient Bengali women to inspire young girls and boys in Bangladesh and across the world. The e-book series is adapted from HerStories: Adventures of Supergirls, a two-volume print book that highlights the lives of women trailblazers from East Bengal and Bangladesh. These iconic super girls include Sayeda Khanam The Photojournalist, female summiteer Nishat Mazumdar, advocate Kalpana Chakma and scientist Dr. Firdausi Qadri, among others.
"These are incredible stories of women who persevered and have impacted Bangladeshi society." shared Kazi Faisal Bin, The Asia Foundation's country representative in Bangladesh. "We're thrilled to create this series with HerStories Foundation and bring these books to hundreds of thousands of girls and boys in Bangladesh through our Let's Read initiative. These stories will inspire generations of children."
"While bringing female role models to the forefront has been one of our core ideals, this initiative, in particular, has allowed us to do so by adapting to the new realities of today," Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Founder of HerStory Foundation shared. "By taking these stories to a digital platform that is accessible by all, we hope to lead by example, encouraging others to do the same," she added.
Twelve stories from the book series were adapted for The Asia Foundation's Let's Read platform, Asia's free digital library for children. Each story is now available for beginning readers in both Bangla and English. Utilizing Let's Read's regional network of translators, all twelve books will be translated to more than 30 languages to inspire readers of all ages across Asia.
To celebrate the launch of the series and the lives of these spectacular super girls, The Asia Foundation and HerStory Foundation will host live events featuring online drawing workshops and puppet readings on the Let's Read Bangladesh and HerStories Facebook pages. Every Friday at 6pm throughout the month of August, HerStory will live stream "Drawing HerStories," workshops for children ages 6 and up, each led by a Supergirls series illustrator.
Also in August, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6pm, HerStories and Let's Read Bangladesh will host live puppet shows on their Facebook pages in collaboration with the puppet theatre troupe Together We Can, founded by Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed, the puppeteer behind the character Ikri of Sisimpur (Sesame Street).
To explore, read and enjoy the full HerStories series on the Let's Read platform log onto www.letsreadasia.org
Let's Read builds a world where curious and educated readers create thriving societies. The innovative, technology driven initiative draws on The Asia Foundation's 18 offices in the region and deep ties in local communities to build an unprecedented digital library of local language children's books while cultivating a sustainable network of reading advocates, book creators and translators committed to creating meaningful reading opportunities. The platform currently has over 4,300 books in 33 languages.
HerStory Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that creates innovative content for development, with a focus on gender equality, youth empowerment and women's rights. HerStory uses storytelling, illustration, design, and dialogue to instil empowering and inspiring messages in children, youth and adults. Their vision as an agent of change is to create impactful and quality content to find creative, non-conventional ways of disseminating knowledge, steering more towards illustrated children's books and experiential learning as opposed to traditional advocacy tactics.
Together We Can
Together We Can is a team of artists that produce puppet theatre shows to address social issues. Their productions, directed by Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed, depicts issues like violence against women, disability awareness and women's empowerment, among others. The team produced a series of 12 puppet HerStory readings with puppets Amiya, Shombu the owl (puppeteered by 7 year old Prokrity Nazareena Ahmed) and Dhrubho Tara the star, directed by Dr. Amit Saha.