The Western Region, Africa
2014 - Present
Photographs by Eleanor Atkins
As I visited more and more schools in the developing world I realised they were inundated with Western books and teaching resources, all of which have all been generously donated by people and schools in Europe and America. I realised that these books don’t have a solid rooting in, or understanding of, the landscape and the people of the places they are located.
As a child stories and poems were what sparked my imagination, they expanded my thoughts and creativity to make me explore and be curious; the woodland stories and characters I had an understanding of. The landscapes I saw and read about in my stories were the same as those I would walk through on a Sunday afternoon with my family; I would run through and get lost in the same grasses and flowers that were depicted on the pages of my books.
In many developing countries they have very few books and illustrated documents of their own stories. In many of these places oral story telling is the traditional way of relaying rich narratives to the younger generation. As younger generations are increasingly not living with their extended families, and TV and radio are being introduced, this form of story telling has become rare.
The aim of this project is to revisit those stories, get younger generations listening to them again, introduce them into schools, and slowly replace many of the Western stories that have no relevance to their culture, landscape and society.