In 2015, ECM Libra Foundation agreed to fund Penang-based non-profit organisation BOLD to research, write and produce story books about children with special needs as a resource for pre-school educators to better integrate students with different abilities.
Under the ‘We are Friends’ project, this community-based outfit that serves children with physical and intellectual disabilities, developmental delays and learning difficulties, published a set of five books in three languages. BOLD went on to print 15,000 copies of the books and 1,500 copies of loose-leaf board books in 2018.
These books were distributed to preschools and primary schools, libraries and NGOs working with children with special needs to promote peer understanding and acceptance of children with special needs in inclusive classrooms.
In a survey of 77 teachers who had used these books during their storytelling activity, 98 per cent of them found the illustrations attractive, the text, illustrations, characters and activities apt for local preschool settings, and the books suitable for promoting peer understanding and acceptance of those with special needs.