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May 2010

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Krish Ashok

In memory of my grandmother who recently passed away, I've started doing story-telling sessions at schools (for the underprivileged) using visuals and an interactive, participative style that my grandmother excelled at. I assembled the visuals to accompany the story I told (Vikram/Vetal) from the internet and I also recorded the entire session using my laptop's webcam.

Since it was very well received, I am now planning to work with the school teachers and do similar sessions, but this time, on topics like WW2, which are part of the students' syllabus but have very dry and boring textbooks. I plan to show actual videos of Hitler speaking as I tell them stories from the war.

My point is - I think story telling is a powerful way to teach, and we just don't do enough of it. It'll be interesting if some textbooks started taking this approach as well. I'd love to speak with you and discuss this in detail

Account Deleted

Hey Krish: Indeed story-telling is a very powerful tool indeed and we don't use it often enough. It's surprising how story telling can be re-purposed to teach things like Math and History and how boring we sadly make the entire curriculum...

Will send you my email address too...


I really should be reading your blog more Beth. This is such a great case study I can use to dialog with my org with. We're currently sorting out our social content strategy and actually looking to consolidate. I get a lot of the social media stuff, but my org is still adapting to it. The good thing is that essentially, we're a storytelling organization (film, citizen journalism, digital story stations etc.) so the adoption (in theory:) ) shouldn't be that difficult - our leadership is pretty responsive.

For places with no internet, I was utterly inspired by the Biblioburro in La Gloria, Columbia:

For the past 10 years, Luis Soriano has delivered books to rural children on the back of a burro - si se puede (It can be done!).

P.S. The Skype reading sessions sound fantastic!


Happy to visit your blog, many posts that provide inspiration and motivation, hopefully we will get many benefits from this blog.

Edison Koibur

Account Deleted

Hi Morgan - glad that this is of help to you! And thank you for the video of the Biblioburro. Such a wonderful story! The Skype reading sessions were so much fun to organize and run - hopefully we'll get to do them again...

Girls Pattaya

Pratham Books are certainly making full use of all technological innovations the web has brought.

Debra Askanase

I don't think I've read a social media case study that has touched my heart as much as this has. Thank you John and Beth for bringing your organizational and social media story to the public.

I have two social media questions for Pratham Books: 1. Which ocial media platforms are the most successful for connecting with fellow Indians, (which segment of the population) and why are those channels the most successful? 2. Are you looking to capitalize on the social media reach with social network fundraising? What are you thoughts on how you might do that?

Thanks again!

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Thanks Girls Pattaya!

Debra - Your comment has made our day! Thank you so very much! And Beth, thank you for giving us the space to tell our story...

To answer your questions, it would be difficult for us to claim that any one network has been most successful. What we can say is that Youtube, given our content, has been the least successful. We've had tremendous success with Twitter and it's the virality of Twitter that has helped our cause the most - eg. Books to Calcutta. Facebook has been powerful too but in different ways - there is a far deeper engagement on Facebook and we get depth of details that we don't otherwise see on other networks. Scribd and Flickr have been incredibly powerful in spreading our content because they were built for our kind of work. If we were to make a recommendation, we'd say Twitter and Facebook for sure. And a blog/website as the mast-head.

And to answer your second question - as of now, we're not looking to fundraise via our social media reach. We're fortunate that we are sustainable as is. What we are looking to do is curate a community that is passionate about reading and given that our mission is "A Book in Every Child's Hand", what we'd like is for the community to use our content as seed content and create many many more derivative works for children across the world to read. In short, what we're trying to catalyze is more and varied content. However, we believe that in order to be successful at fundraising, we'd need to give more than we receive and create far more value than we capture...

Once again, thanks Debra for your kind words...

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