The principles are based on India’s 2,000 year old treatise, the Bharata Natya Shastra. And Indian traditional storytelling practices.

Katha sees story as a powerful, non-divisive tool in nation building. The pedagogy for the past five years have showed new ways of looking at teaching and learning, new ways of making learning child-centred.

Katha is a non-profit organization founded by Geeta Dharmarajan started its work in 1988 and registered as a social nonprofit organization in 1989 with the mission to enhance the joys of reading and impact social justice and equity through quality books and education @ Story Pedagogy that has seamlessly connected grassroots work in education, teacher training and publishing for nearly 28 years through by using the power of story.

Katha’s founder president Geeta Dharmarajan started the Katha Lab School in the poverty-ridden slums of Govindpuri in 1990, where most children worked to support their families.

When We Started

The environment when Katha started was not too conducive to education. Almost 30 years ago, the 42nd Sample Survey showed that children dropped out of school not only when they were working to support the family; but also when they found school boring and dull, lessons irrelevant. And the challenges of integrating relevance and fun and excitement (that most of us who knew what a book holds) into an experiment in Delhi, was beyond doubt.

When we look closely at  the beginning and the first students katha worked with, we found they were working children – it seems that story as the basis for children who had gone without schooling till they were 7-14 years olds; the children who were going school were struggling to read their school text books, children who spoke the language fluently and traded in it, but could not read or write it; children whose parents were nonliterate and thus learning happened for them and their grandparents through means other than the written word – through story – story seemed a good way to start off.

India in the past had a tradition of “gurukul” Indian Atticus style which believed in. Speech. Debate. Interaction and right Action. Hence the founder president thought that if they could listen to stories and follow along “Indian Atticus-style” familiar stories, written simply, with a finger on each word, child on lap. The result was visible : a story and personal attention was getting a child reading and learning.  And this was the beginning of Story Pedagogy.

Our Books

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Katha Digital Lab

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Padho Pyaar Se

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Katha believes: 

Stories can create new ways of seeing the world we live in for children. We foster writings that break social, cultural and gender stereotypes and help us see the other side of pictures by helping us develop our narrative imaginations.  We valorize kindness and equality, kindness and caring. Loka samastha sukino bavanthu:

  • Stories can foster culturelinking – between peoples, languages, cultures of India, historically and across the miniscule chasms like caste, class and religion.
  • In supporting writers for our child-readers who are creative – iconoclastic or traditional – who explore life thoroughly and empathetically. We support our writers who, in their creations, steadfastly refuse to be drawn by economic need to commercialize or follow conventional thinking.We applaud and admire writers who create good and sensitive pieces of work which recreate the magic of life. We desire stories and poems that enhance our understanding of the contemporary and the historical in our lives, what we are now, where we come from, and what we aspire to be as a country made up of, predominantly,  children.
  • In the strength that good editors bring to texts, and wish quality editing for every good story written, honing its strengths, its charisma. And in the good and sensitive teachers who help us bridge them through close reading of stories, texts.We see the humanities as a tool to transform the self, and through this, the society we live in. And revel in the readers and the joy they feel after a good read.

Key processes:

Soon the technique of delivery process of story pedagogy was evolved: Active Story Based Learning (ASBL) which takes a child through the process of thinking, asking, discussing and Acting using stories. Without a text book the story could teach language, science, mathematics, general awareness and critical thinking. The integrated subject teaching was possible through branch story technique. Soon Teacher training on the story pedagogy started and age appropriate Quality books were published by Katha to ignite the minds of young ones.

The cradle of this innovation was Katha Lab school. The story pedagogy based Katha Relevant education model is being delivered in Katha Lab school for the past 25+ years.

The central to the innovative story pedagogy was its ability to transform a child from a passive learner to a leader. Through the enquiry process and contextual stories a child could think of solutions for her own community. There began the process of community resurgence because it did not alienate the child and parent from her realities rather propel the will in each child to do something to change the situation. Through experimentation and relentless learning she stabilized the integrated story pedagogy based solution Katha Relevant Education model with story pedagogy as the fulcrum of education delivery process not only focuses on child but also her ecosystem and brings community resurgence into its programmes in creative ways.

The stories resulted in community action wherein children initiated small projects on the day to day challenges they faced in their own community. The projects were based on safe sanitation, safe drinking water, health and hygiene and education and empowerment, which led to double empowerment [SHE]2 .