Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was present at the New Zealand High Commission for the launch of five gender-positive books for children published by Katha. The launch was attended by students and teachers from Delhi government schools and the Katha Lab School.
Sisodia, who holds the Education portfolio, also donned the cap of a storyteller and read to the children from one of the five books. Congratulating the New Zealand High Commission and Katha for the unique initiative, he said, “I believe books like these are what humanity needs for us to nurture kids, who are still pure at heart, so they can lead us to a more gender-balanced society,” he said.
This literature, available in both English and Hindi, has been produced with support from the High Commission’s Head of Mission Fund, which supports projects for wider community-well-being. With the help of these five children’s storybooks, Katha aims to develop children as agents of change and promote gender equity and female empowerment.
“Supporting a project that seeks to break down gender stereotypes through storytelling was really an easy decision for us, because New Zealand’s Head of State, our Deputy Prime Minister, our Chief Justice and our representative to India, are all women,” added Joanna Kempkers, New Zealand High Commissioner to India.
Talking about the partnership, Geeta Dharmarajan, the founder of Katha and author of three of these books, said, “Katha is happy to partner with the New Zealand High Commission to bring out this series of books that will help child readers understand the stereotypes that bind them to stagnation and lack of opportunities. Katha believes that each child is capable of building a kinder world for herself. These books are a testament to that belief.”
The books will be disseminated, through libraries, to primary school age children attending government schools and living in slum communities, as well as to students attending the Katha Lab School in Delhi. As many as 90,000 children will directly benefit from this project.
By using these books, that portray women in a gender-sensitive manner, Katha hopes to reduce gender stereotypes and challenge the fundamental constructs of gender.