Geeta Dharmarajan

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    • Geeta Dharmarajan's details
      • Country: India
      • Region: New Delhi
      • Studies: Writer, Editor, Educator and Visionary
      • University: Katha, New Delhi

    Geeta Dharmarajan is a writer, editor, educator and visionary who was awarded the Padma Shri for her distinguished service in Literature and Education in 2012. She is the founder and executive director of Katha, which has two branches — “one to do with education, and the other with translation” (Interview with Kausalya Santhanam for the Hindu, 30 April 2012). Thus Katha is both a publishing house and a “profit for all” organization that works “with and in story telling” through its own schools, government schools, reading programs and community-based initiatives (that include income-generation programs for women). Along with heading Katha, Geeta Dharmarjan is also the Chairman of the National Bal Bhavan.

    Geeta began her career as a professional editor more than 30 years ago with The Pennsylvania Gazette, the magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, and with Target, a magazine for children.  In 1988 while in Delhi she started Tamasha, a magazine for underprivileged children, and soon thereafter established the Katha school in the Govindpuri slum.

    Geeta has authored 31 books and published over 400 writings. Her book “Moon, Ramu and I” won the Darsana National Award 2011 for Best Children’s Book.  She views stories as a means to create social transformation and link various Indian language communities and cultures. Acting on her belief that good literature is an effective medium for both pleasure and self-improvement, Geeta has pioneered the development of a special story-based pedagogy and curriculum and used this to engage children in quality education and lifelong learning. As she says, “The story for us [at Katha] is a tool of social transformation, for education, culture linking and fun reading” (Interview with Kausalya Santhanam for the Hindu, 30 April 2012)

    Under Geeta’s directorship, Katha has played an eminent role in translating folk tales from regional languages into English and Hindi as she has strived to create a space for the many voices of Indian writers and their culturally unique literature. Since 1988, Katha has published more than 300 titles that include high quality translations of fiction for adults and children from 21 Indian languages by over 600 writers and translators. In 2013 it won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, “the world’s most coveted award in Children’s literature.”

    Katha, the non profit organization has worked extensively in poor communities and established over 21 schools in the slums of Delhi and in Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh. It also runs more than a 100 libraries and reading rooms in various corporation schools that have reached out to over 6 lakh children.

    Katha has also created the “Tamasha Road Show”, a Schools on Wheels programme to take a school to the child. Geeta and Katha have also developed a Katha Curriculum for Life called KREAD: Katha Relevant Education for All-round Development anchored in helping children understand what it means to be a good human being and another system called S.P.I.C.E. ® (Social activism, Personal Leadership, Intellectual skills, Cultural and Environmental knowledge) to support cooperative, creative and inclusive learning through story pedagogy.

    The widespread success of Katha’s reading and school transformation programmes has led to its approach being adopted in government schools in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa. By 2017, Katha will have worked in 500 schools of which half will operate in slums that cater to almost 2 lakh children.

    For further information on Geeta Dharmarajan, you can access the following links

    Her Katha: An Interview with Geeta Dharmarajan by Kausalya Santhanam
    http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/article3370395.ece

    Beautiful Story: An Interview with Geeta Dharmarajan by Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty
    http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/beautiful-story/article5124256.ece

    Children as Reader-Leaders: Geeta Dharmarajan at TEDxOxbridge
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifsbycP4V-o

    The maya of education- Geeta Dharmarajan
    http://www.india-seminar.com/2009/600/600_geeta_dharmarajan.htm

    Interview with Geeta Dharmarajan, Founder and Executive Director of Katha
    by Aline Pereira for Paper Tigers.org
    http://www.papertigers.org/interviews/archived_interviews/gdharmarajan.html

    Katha
    http://www.katha.org/site/

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