According to UNESCO statistics illiteracy is widespread in India, affecting a total of 400 million people. In the light of this, Plain Ink has devised health-related comics – with messages presented in Hindi, English as well as pure graphics, on each page – as a simple and effective way to share knowledge and skills with people with limited literacy.
Starting in 2011, Plain Ink has reached out to and involved the community of Jalilpur – a slum of 10,000 people in the outskirts of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – to create comics that could be context-relevant, appropriate and be reflective of the needs and wants of that community itself, starting with the participation of the pupils of the Aghoreshwar Gurukul.
After several pilots, revision rounds and talks with community members, local development experts, doctors, teachers and students, Plain Ink locally produced and printed ‘The Village Changemakers”, a comics book that cover five topics:
- clean water access
- food security
- communicable diseases prevention
- personal hygiene
- water and sanitation
A total of 7,000 copies have been printed and distributes thanks to the support of the Only the Brave Foundation in 2012 and of 1% for Development Fund of the United Nations in 2013.