by Tale Weavers &
The Red Elephant Foundation
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable TALE
Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development, weavers
adopted by world leaders in September
2015 at an historic UN Summit, weaving tales, breaking stereotypes
officially came into force.
Over the next fifteen years, with these
new Goals that universally apply to all,
countries will mobilize efforts to end all
forms of poverty, fight inequalities and
tackle climate change, while ensuring
that no one is left behind.
Stories for Awareness is a collaboration
between The Red Elephant Foundation
and Tale Weavers to engage with
children and build awareness around the
17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This story throws light on SDG 8:
Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Story: Sharda Vishwanathan
Illustrations: Kirthi Jayakumar
Harini and Alka were travelling across the cities in
India for work.
They were both working with an organization that
helped men and women learn new skills and earn better
money for their families.
As they had some free time, they decided to visit
Harini’s cousins Kaya and Kabir.
“You are all grown-up,” teased Harini as she entered
the house and saw Kaya and Kabir, “the last time I saw
you two, you were tiny little pranksters always running
around the house.”
“Ohhhh Harini that was like years back,” said Kabir
with a grin.
“So mom mentioned that you are here on work and that
you get to travel all around the country,” said Kaya.
“Yes, we are here on work. Also, meet my friend and
colleague Alka. We work together,” said Harini.
“Hello Alka, nice to meet you,” both the children
said as they welcomed Alka.
“Hello Kaya and Kabir. Nice to finally meet you. Harini
always talks about you two,” replied Alka.
“Why don’t you all join me at the table and help
yourselves to some snacks and homemade filter coffee,”
said aunty Sana.
As they were munching on the snacks, Kabir said,
“Which city are you travelling to next?”
“Our next stop is a small village which is around 2
hours from here,” replied Harini.
“And you know what is interesting about this village,
most of the men and women here are artists,” added
Alka as the children looked at them with excitement.
“Artists? What kind of artists are they?”
“Are they actors or do they sing?”
“Painters,” said Alka.
“Yes, all the people in this village practise this very
ancient tribal art called Warli,” explained Harini.
“Hmmmm I have never heard of this art,” expressed
“Warli is a kind of painting done on walls. These
paintings use simple geometric patterns like circle,
square and triangle,” said Harini.
“And how do you help them?” Kaya asked a little
amazed and a little confused, “do you also paint with
Smiling at the children Alka explained, “ No we don’t
paint but we help them market their paintings so that
people from around the world can buy them and know
about our rich artistic heritage.”
“A lot of women and young girls in these villages have
never been to a school. But over the years they learn
this art from their mothers and grandmothers. We help
them with skills so that they can promote this art,” said
Warli art by Renuka Viswanathan
“Often a lot of women and children do not get equal
access to education. Reasons vary from poverty to
lack of access to schools and colleges that are major
challenges,” Harini chimed in.
“But it is important that we do create opportunities so
that they can earn money and help them come out of
“So you buy their paintings?” asked Kabir.
“We teach them different skills so that they learn how to
sell their paintings, how to manage the money they earn
and the ways in which they can grow their business,”
“It is important for them to understand the laws of
business so that nobody cheats them or gives them less
money for all the hard-work they put in,” said Alka.
“So you conduct classes for them?”
“Yes, you are right, we conduct classes and teach them
skills such as how to use the computer, how to use the
internet, how to save money, what are the monthly
expenses that are important and expenses that can be
avoided and so on,” explained Alka further.
“They also learn how to be creative and design different
products. Like making paintings on T-shirts, sarees,
coffee mugs, pen stands and photo frames.”
“When you provide training, you improve a person’s
ability to do business or to join a company to do work.
And when every person works, he/she
contributes to a country’s growth,”
“And the women now also have people from other
countries buying their paintings,” said Alka with a lot of
pride and happiness.
“Really?” said Kaya and Kabir with twinkling eyes.
“We work with people in every country who mentor the
men and women in these villages,” replied Alka.
“For e.g. one of our mentors in Singapore, Ms. Poh
Ching Tan conducts skype classes and helps them
understand which of their products are in demand in
Singapore and how to price them effectively so that
they make a profit,” said Harini.
“Wowwwww...this sounds interesting,” said Kaya
“What is really important is they all choose to do the
work and nobody forces them.
And because they see the benefit from the skills they
learn, they encourage their children to gain knowledge
by sending them to school,” explained Harini.
“So you see, how creating jobs and providing training
helps people improve their living and also helps them
value the importance of education,” said Alka.
“I have a question,” said Kabir, “Aunty Meesha who
works with mom in the kitchen often helps us with our
drawings. She is extremely good at it. Do you think she
can also start selling her paintings?”
“Of course. In fact as you learn computers in school,
you can share your knowledge with her and teach her
how to use the Internet,” said Harini beaming with
Kaya and Kabir were all thrilled with their new project.
Aunty Sana who was quietly listening to the
conversation promised to talk to Meesha and help her
set up her online business to market her paintings.
Tale Weavers is an initiative that
aims to engage with children and the
youth through stories that challenge
stereotypes and break the barriers in
creating a just society.
We welcome you to our world of stories
where simple conversations, colorful
illustrations, and powerful characters
help break the stereotypes and create
an inclusive learning space which is
free of bias - be it gender, religion, race,
nationality or ethnicity.
The Red Elephant Foundation is an
initiative that is built on the foundations
of story-telling, civilian peacebuilding
and activism for sensitisation on
all drivers of peace - gender, race,
nationality, colour and orientation.
The initiative is titled “Red Elephant”
to stand out as a vehicle that projects
stories that must never be forgotten:
stories that show you such courage that
you should never forget, and stories that
show the world such profound lessons
that the world should never forget. In
doing so, the initiative aims at creating
awareness and opening up channels
of communication towards creating
societies of tolerance, peacebuilding