While we may criticise technology for seeping its way into our lives, but if used wisely and correctly, it can be a blessing in disguise. And our very own Kahaniwali Nani proves that if the visions and aims are noble, we can use any tool wisely to make the world a better place.
We spoke to the lovely 61-year-old Bangalore-based Sarla Minni, one of the Founders of Kahaniwali Naani about her love for telling stories and her mission to share stories with the children of the world. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Psychology. She’s actively worked as a Montessori schoolteacher and ICMAS Abacus in Kolkata. She was instrumental in opening four centres of Abacus. In her spare time, she practices Reiki and Sujog. She moved to Bangalore in 2008.
How did it all begin?
Sending audio stories was the idea of my niece Parul Rampuria, who is the co-founder of this initiative and a great inspiration for me. It was her suggestion to record a story and send it to our friends and relatives. After getting a positive and encouraging response during our testing phase we launched Kahaniwali Nani.”
She remembers how fondly her kids used to listen to stories from their grandparents. In today’s world of electronic devices and screens, this simple pleasure of listening to stories is losing its lustre and Sarla wishes to extend this gift to every child in the present scenario.
Sarla strongly feels that children need to be kept away from the screen but not be devoid of stories. Stories are their birthright. “We are on a mission to provide bedtime stories to children and let them feel as if they’re listening to stories from their Dadi or Nani and last but not least this would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of my family,” smiles Sarla.
Investments & Branding
This is quite a unique concept with zero financial investment. The main investment was in terms of their personal effort and time in searching for stories, improvising them, to giving their personal touch and recording them so that children of all ages enjoy and understand them.
“With regard to the brand name, it was inspired by my 4-year-old grandson Vivaan Maloo from Mumbai, who loves listening to stories since he was a year old,” laughs Sarla.
It has been just a few weeks already and Sarla is receiving an overwhelming response through written and voice messages on Whatsapp from children all over the country who fondly call her Nani.
“The challenges that we face in this line of work is in finding stories and improvising them to make them interactive and interesting,” explains Sarla.
Children from all age groups from newborn to 10-12 years, even would-be-mothers and grannies have subscribed for her stories. They have to search for different types of stories suitable for all age groups.
Listeners from across the world
Kahaniwali Nani has a family of young story listeners across the world right from India, Dubai, England, America, Morocco, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Nigeria to name a few.
Sarla recalls, “Each and every child in this family is a celebrity on its own. The most overwhelming response was from a parent staying 30km from Pakistan border in Kashmir where they do not have formal schools for small children. The mother found our stories of great help and thanked us for our initiative.”
USP of Kahaniwali Nani
Children actually feel as if a grandmother is sitting in front of them telling a story, that too in a homely environment. Their brand is unique in the sense that kids connect to the voice personally. Parents send responses like – ‘superb initiative, wonderful story, amazing voice, good thoughts, great work, huge favour to us’ – which is truly very encouraging for Sarla.
Stories covered by Nani
Kahaniwali Nani always tries to cover all kinds of stories- value based stories, festival related stories, folk tales, animal and fun stories, interactive and interesting and tries to help them build good habits just as a grandmother would want in her grandchildren.
Visions & Aims with Kahaniwali Nani
“Our aim or mission is to provide good bedtime stories to as many children as possible and try to keep children away from screens. This is the reason why we send audios. We will always try sending stories to create the habit of listening to stories rather than watching them. This will increase their power of visualisation and inculcate patience in due course of time,” explains Sarla.
The journey so far…
“From the time of the launch of Kahaniwali Nani in March 2017 we have been getting a very positive response from children and parents. Parents also relate to the stories by messaging ‘hamara bachpan yaad aa gaya, when they recall hearing stories from their Nani, or even we are waiting for your stories, amazing voice, awesome story,” smiles Sarla. Children send voice messages like “Thank you, Nani, for a lovely story, love you Nani, while “one child says Dadi hamare ghar kab aayegi and much more.”
The family of Kahaniwali Nani now covers about 1,000 kids across the world and counting. They have reached these children organically through word of mouth.
Good and selfless acts of love, warmth and harmony surely know no boundaries and since it is making such a positive impact amongst the children and their parents, we’re sure that Kahaniwali Nani is soon going to reach thousands more in the days to come.
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