In a nutshell, the work aims to produce ‘home-grown’ stories for children between the ages of 4 and 9 years old (or even older as in our case) who are learning to read.
In Lesotho, as in many African countries, the policy is to teach children to learn to read in Sesotho as well as in English which is the official medium of instruction, the language of learning and teaching.
Whatever one may think of this policy, the fact remains that children learning to read in a language they don’t understand are at a distinct initial disadvantage. The whole point of reading is to get to the meaning of the text.
This is not possible if one does not understand the language of that text firstly as a spoken language.
The children of Malealea are exposed to very little spoken English. Most parents do not speak English, and even if they have a smattering of English, they certainly do not speak it at home. There is no English TV or radio or even newspapers or magazines. Their teachers speak English at school, but this is often far from adequate, particularly as the language of instruction.