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Traveller Story Sacks

Improving literacy in the Traveller community through storytelling.

Traveller Story Books

“I thought it was really good. It was a great experience and it helped me to learn to write out and to tell a story in my own view. I was also able to read the stories to the children with it being our own interests. I hope for the future that more Travellers will access the Library themselves with or without their children. I hope too for the future my children can see their culture is known to others in a good way and that will encourage them to do things like their mammy did." Quote from participant

This project tackled unmet literacy and digital literacy needs in the Traveller community by creating two story sacks. It also created inclusive safe spaces that prized Traveller culture, heritage and values, and allowed Traveller participants to engage and build relationships with libraries.  

From late September to early November 2023, nineteen participants split into two groups based in Letterkenny and Ballyshannon libraries. Each group created a children’s fiction book, a non-fiction book, and a culturally appropriate story sack. The fiction book combined the participants’ stories into one book, and the non-fiction book gathered the participant’s memories about their culture and beliefs into another book. Every book includes a QR code which allows readers to listen to audio recordings of participants telling their stories themselves. Stories were also printed on yellow paper to ensure they are easily accessible for people with dyslexia.  

All participants improved their literacy and digital literacy skills. Moreover, most participants registered to a library after completing the project and now feel more confident to use library resources in future. In January 2024, Trav Story Sacks was nominated for an Aontas Star Award as a shining example of social inclusion in adult learning.  

Course participants with their storybooks.

“It was great to share our child hood memories and stories with others involved in the story sack and create a Traveller space in the library so Traveller children can feel included there. I really hope that this project will continue to progress as the stories we have wrote have expanded across Donegal and Ireland. It was a great experience as a Traveller woman and also to be a part of such a successful project.” Quote from participant

Traveller Story Sacks was the result of a collaboration between Donegal Travellers Project CLG and Donegal ETB.  

For more information about the project, please contact Adele McElhinney, DETB Regional Literacy Coordinator at  

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