PICTURE BOOK PROJECT IN CAMBODIA: Support of Nation-building with Design

Many intellectuals were killed and books were burned during Khmer Rouge period (1975–1979). Literacy rate of Cambodia is 76.3, which is the 133rd place out of 183 countries. It is pointed that this low literacy rate is one of the factors that hinders development of this country. TZU DESIS Lab will make a free downloadable picture book written in Khmer language for Cambodian children in collaboration with Oya in Cambodian Mekong University in order to improve this situation. However there are no picture books adapted to Cambodian culture because most books were imported from abroad or donated from international charity organizations. Even though some picture books are made in Cambodia, pictures in the books are usually very scarey and the children are frightened, so that they don't dare to read it. This project aims at contributing to nation-building through making a picture book that enable them to read and write while Cambodian children delightfully learn their own culture. Students in Cambodian Mekong University will collect stories heard in old days from their grandparents, and the Lab will make a picture book from collected stories. We will contribute to cultural sustainability by recording memory of children’s stories that grandparents heard in old days as picture books.