Hazel Large, a CCK member works as a literature consultant for Wycliffe in Mali but is currently back in South Africa after repatriation during the pandemic.
Hazel Large tells us more about her work with Wycliffe:
There’s nothing quite like a good book.
There’s nothing quite like The Good Book either.
Literacy and the Bible go together like rain and clouds, or sunshine and heat. You can’t have one without the other.
Wycliffe South Africa is part of a global network of Bible translation agencies called the Wycliffe Global Alliance. Wycliffe’s role is to facilitate the translation of the Bible into minority languages though recruitment, training, member care, and much more (see the website). Most often, people recruited by Wycliffe organisations are seconded to work with its sister organisation, SIL International. The spadework we put into Bible translation digs up some useful things: linguistic reasearch and analysis, the development of writing systems and literacy programmes.
Literate people are inevitably involved in translating the Bible into language where the Bible doesn’t yet exist, and they plan for people to listen to it or to read it. In fact for someone to listen it someone else needs to be able to read it.
If you think about it, the Bible is an amazing book. It contains poetry, stories, history, advice, law, biography and prophecy. It’s is both simple and complex, easy to understand and difficult. In order to study it in depth we need to be able to read at a high level. And how do readers achieve the necessary level? They read. But they need to read texts that are easier than the Bible, simpler to understand, more directly related to their own context and in the sort of language style that they can easily understand. They need to read a lot of them.
That’s where I come into the picture, me and Project LiNEMA.
This is joint project between SIL Mali (where I am seconded) and SIL Lead, a part of SIL International. We won a competition with the NGO All Children Reading, which is how we are funded.
The project aims to adapt 150 existing books for children into two different language in Mali (Soninké and Mamara), and to develop 50 new books. These books will be published as ebooks with audio components, but will have printable versions. In addition, we will choose 20 books to which we will add Malian sign language videos so that deaf children can also benefit from them.
The books will be published on:
World reader app (worldreader.org)
and the Global Digital Library.