Storytelling is the best way to activate our imaginations and our imaginations are the key to learning. This is why 20,000 children in Northeast Nigeria participating in AUN’s TELA program are learning to read by listening to a radio show about Dada, the sounding man, and his friends, Amina, Zainab, Bintu and Ibrahim. The sounding man is an important and respected member of the community in Northeast Nigeria: he makes important announcements using a local drum to draw people’s attention.

Written and produced by AUN students and faculty, the show is aired in one of the local languages, Hausa. Dada and his friends are local, relatable characters that harness the students’ imagination. Complementary workbooks in turn convert the students’ imagination into learning and apply the lessons the students learn by listening to the radio show.

To make the characters come alive, local women are making dolls to represent the characters. For a child who can’t read a single, simple sentence and has never owned a toy, the dolls are a pure wonder.

With a small contribution of $10.00 you can ensure a young child has a doll and learns to read better. You will also be supporting the local women who are making the dolls using local materials.

Led by Marta Jaramilo, these women are learning a skill and earning an income – for some that means being able to buy their first bed, for others it’s the only way they can afford to send their daughters to school.

So far, we have made 100 dolls. Each week, the best performers in one of TELA’s 750 radio listening centers are given a doll to take home for the weekend. Our goal is to raise enough money to make enough dolls to give one to each child to keep!

We are also distributing dolls to the participants in the Feed and Read Girls program – a daily literacy class for young girls in the local community.