Dec 14, 2005

Google Foundation gives grant to PlanetRoad

from the GoogleBlog:

Recently, the Google Foundation awarded PlanetRead a grant to increase the number of SLS programs available, and Google is also supporting PlanetRead with free advertising through the Google Grants program and content hosting on Google Video.

(SLS stands for Same Language Subtitling and is explained by Dr. Brij Kothari, President, PlanetRead )

More than 500 million people in India have access to TV and 40 percent of these viewers have low literacy skills and are poor. Through PlanetRead’s approach, over 200 million early-literates in India are getting weekly reading practice from Same Language Subtitling (SLS) using TV. The cost of SLS? Every
U.S. dollar covers regular reading for 10,000 people – for a year. I hit upon this idea in 1996 through a most ordinary personal experience. While taking a break from dissertation writing at Cornell University, I was watching a Spanish film with friends to improve my Spanish. The Spanish movie had English
subtitles, and I remember commenting that I wished it came with Spanish subtitles, if only to help us grasp the Spanish dialogue better. I then thought, ‘And if they just put Hindi subtitles on Bollywood songs in Hindi, India would become literate.’ That idea became an obsession. It was so
simple, intuitively obvious, and scalable in its potential to help hundreds of millions of people read -- not just in India, but globally. So you can see how it works, we’ve uploaded some folk songs using SLS into Google Video. And we've uploaded other
there as well.

Isn't that amazing ? Using popular culture to change the status quo is an effective method, and this is just doing that at a different level!