“It was pure serendipity,” laughs Irish-American writer Elizabeth Nolan, as she recalls her first meeting with Kurdish tech entrepreneur Kawa Onatli. “Kawa’s young son is a fan of my book Hêstirên Graniayê (Grania’s Tears), so the Onatli family came to our book launch celebration in Stockholm. Initially I knew Kawa only as a parent — but before long I discovered what an innovative powerhouse he is!”
Leveraging technology to teach Kurdish language
“Elizabeth’s a storyteller, but she’s also a cultural rights activist at heart,” Kawa explains, “From the moment she described how she wanted to leverage video game technology to teach Kurmanji to children around the world – including my own son! – I was intrigued.”
Four months later, Kawa and Elizabeth are busy conducting research for what they hope will become the world’s first Kurdish educational video game. The pair have developed an online survey – in 6 languages spoken by the diaspora – to understand how parents and children might utilize a fully-immersive video game that is equipped with voice recognition software. The game they have in mind is based upon the mythological characters in Hêstirên Graniayê.
Get involved by taking the survey
If your family is interested in learning Kurmanji, please lend a hand by filling out Kawa and Elizabeth’s survey. The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete and at the end, you will have a chance to win a Kurmanji edition of Hêstirên Graniayê, one of only 10-15 Kurdish children’s books that are expected to be published worldwide this year.