Arunachal Pradesh, India
The Bugun people are known to be gentle in nature and warm in hospitality. They are surrounded by beautiful mountains, evergreen vegetation and forests. Wild boars and bears can be found as well as many beautiful birds—including the Hornbill. Varieties of Orchid are found in the region. The Bugun region is a tourist destination and wildlife sanctuary, ranging from 200—11,000 ft above sea level. The Bugun people keep domestic animals and sometimes even bison. Their homes are build of bamboo and wood. The men use bows, arrows and even trapping and damming techniques to hunt. Bugun people love to dance, which they do accompanied by cultural wood, wind and percussion instruments. The Bugun have a headman who is selected to represent the village council. Rich in culture, the Bugun people are passionate about their language and culture.
The Bugun people love storytelling, and coupled with their appreciation for their language and culture, they are very eager to help their people to become literate in their own language. Materials for use in a literacy program were developed by the speakers of the language in conjunction with linguists and literacy consultants following a pre-designed methodology. The materials, written in the Bugun language and illustrated by their own artists include: a pre-reader, books that teach the alphabet and an accompanying story book. They also have a book of folk tales, a spelling guide and an alphabet chart to be used in lessons. A basic mathematics course as well as teachers’ guides and teacher training manuals will be translated for use in the project. The literacy initiative among the Bugun people will contribute to the preservation of their language.
As of January 2020
The literacy project was launched in the first Bugun village in March 2020. The literacy committee, project coordinator and teachers who were recently trained are driving this initiative among their people. Children in this village only have access to education in a second and third language. The classes, which are being held in a community hall provide those who attend the unique opportunity to listen to and discuss stories read by the teachers in their heritage language. Through the project, the students discover the link between reading, writing, thinking and knowing. This cognitive process takes place naturally and easily because it all happens in the language they think in and know best. The project will be implemented in more Bugun villages, with more teachers trained. The community ‘owns’ this work, which is crucial to ensure success and longevity.