Young girls draw illustrations for story books

Afsana,  a young girl (name changed) has studied only upto fourth standard. However, her skill in drawing helped her to learn the art of graphics and illustrations and her illustrations have found a place in yet to published story book ‘Drithee and Ditulee.’

Poverty had forced her to discontinue her studies and supplement the income of her family. She finally landed in Mangaluru, where the police handed her to Prjana Counselling Centre, in Mangaluru. Now, she along with 11 inmates of Destitute Cottage and Group foster home of Prajna are dreaming of self-reliance by learning graphics and illustrations at Prajna Computer Training Centre.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Centre teacher Geetha Pandith said she taught her alphabets in English in the beginning.

There are 20 such students in the centre who come from financially poor background and are given training in graphics and illustrations. Infosys has donated 20 computers to the centre.

Pandith said  ‘Drithee and Ditulee’ is a story about how pearls are formed in ocean. It is a friendship bond between  ‘Drithee and Ditulee’ (Ditulee is an insect with special power). She is planning to write 10 stories for children. The books are yet to published and she has contacted several well-known publishers who have responded positively.

“The illustrations for the story book is ready and I am planning to covert it into epub, so that it can be read using Tablet and iPhones. I am searching for a person to print the books.  Fifty per cent of the money which received from selling the books will be given to these girls in the centre who have done the illustrations. The remaining 50 per cent will be used for purchasing software to the centre, so that we can come out with a few more such illustrations,” she said. The book will be of 25 pages. In fact, five destitute children of Prajna Centre have come out with a story on their life and are working on its illustrations. 

Pandith was the one who started National Computer Centre in Mangaluru and has over 20 years of experience in the field of computer. Poor health condition forced her to stay away from work and come closer to Prjana.

She has been teaching these young girls, on a voluntary basis. In fact, she also provides voluntary service to Helen and Keller Institute of Deaf and Dumb in Mumbai. “I teach them with lines, curves and colours. Graphics are used in banners, visiting cards, cut outs and so on,” she said.

Children are drawn into a book first by its visual language. Illustrators help in building curiosity and make the story interesting, she said.

On what made her to write stories, she said “I tell stories for my grand daughter. In fact, I do not want to tell just a story in the night. I want her to gain knowledge through stories. So I started with  ‘Drithee and Ditulee.’ Now she is six years old and knows how pearls are formed. Through stories I want to send a message to the children,” Pandith added.

“We use Gimp software for illustrations as Adobe is expensive. I am planning to apply to National Association of Software and Services Companies  (NASSCOM) seeking free Adobe software for the centre. I will seek the help of my sister to translate the books into Kannada, so that more children can be benefited from it,” she added.

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