A full July update is coming right around the bend, but before then, we wanted to share a brief interlude on something tremendous and dear to us.
Dialect is lucky enough to have many formidable people as contributors. Working with these folks has been a delight and their voices have added dazzle and depth to the game. These writers are a mix of designers, activists, linguists, language inventors and generally remarkable people. We’d like to highlight one in particular.
In the realm of games, Ajit George is a designer, community leader, and (fortunately for Dialect) the author of the backdrop Velayuthapuram, Tamil Nadu. 2006. Outside of games, Ajit does incredible work as the Director of Operations for Shanti Bhavan; a non-profit school that supports, empowers, and educates the poorest children in India. Shanti Bhavan has reimagined non-profit education by caring for Dalit children, those from the lowest castes, from their first day of school to their first day of work. Shanti Bhavan fosters academics, leadership, dignity. This is work that transforms the lives of the poor and offers tangible hope to some of the most vulnerable communities in India.
After twenty years of operation, Shanti Bhavan is now getting widespread and well-deserved recognition. Among many media spotlights, Netflix has just released a 4-part documentary about Shanti Bhavan called Daughters of Destiny. The series tracks the story of girls through their time as Shanti Bhavan students and how it shapes their lives in profound ways.
This series is an eye-opening and powerful look into rural India, the real struggles these children face and the ambition of the project. Ajit’s leadership gives inspiration to his backdrop in Dialect. In his own words:
“My work at Shanti Bhavan has made me passionate about Dalit (Untouchable rights), because more than 90% of the children at our school (including the girls in the series Daughters of Destiny) come from this deeply discriminated and segregated segment of India's population. Through the decade I have worked with the organization, I have seen all forms of discrimination against our children and their families, including ostracization and isolation. That ostracization is destructive, and has claimed the lives of more than a few parents of the children who attend Shanti Bhavan. I hope in building this setting (which was directly influenced by real life events), I have been able to give voice to those who would not otherwise be heard and that their stories are acknowledged, at least in part.”
Ajit is a dear friend. In fact, he played in the third game of Dialect that was ever run (back in Metatopia 2015). H himself got to visit Shanti Bhavan on a trip to India and see with his own eyes what meaningful work is being done there. Now that experience has opened up to everyone with a Netflix account.
If you have access to it, we urge you to watch the documentary. If you have the means, and the work moves you as much as it did us, do consider a donation to the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project. They do an incredible amount with the resources they have.
Thorny K, H, B, T.