BASED in Atlanta of Georgia, USA, author Gurmeet Kaur wanted to teach her five-year-old daughter about her Sikh roots and history.
Sitting thousands of miles away from home, Kaur finally found her answer in a website, conceived and created in Mohali by Vismaad Mediatech Pvt. Ltd.
Coined SikhVille, the infotainment portal is the brainchild of Vismaad’s CEO Sukhwinder Singh meant for children.
After making a series of animated features on Sikh history including Sundri, Sahibzadey, Banda Singh Badadur, Bhai Subeg Shahbaz Singh, Bhai Taru Singh and The Rise of Khalsa, and showcasing them across the world, Singh decided to divert his attention to creating something that would engage young minds and help them get familiar with their roots and language through a fun and interactive way.
Singh said: “Hence SikhVille. We have been working on it for the past few years, surfing other edutainment websites, understanding what clicks and works for children and then curating content accordingly.”
The site has content created for Punjabi learning and connecting newer generations with Sikh or Punjabi history and culture.
“Log on and SikhVille has something for every child of Sikh or Punjabi origin whether they are tech-savvy or have limited and supervised technology exposure such as my five-year-old,” writes Kaur in an email, adding her favourite is the wise old gentleman, Roop Singh’s adventurous stories that he, in his animated avatar, narrates to kids, connecting the children in the diaspora.
Interestingly, nowhere is it hardcore history nor is it preachy. Instead, SikhVille has on board original animated characters like Jot Deep who sing and dance and tune in with children. Then there is a whole bundle of games, learning exercises, videos, Punjabi reading club, music and others.
“We have developed activity sheets for children to pick up and identify shapes, sizes, alphabet, numbers and colours in Gurmukhi language,” said Singh, trying to improve the Punjabi skills and observation of kids.
Also available as an app, for free, Singh said his aim is to reach out to the children and not make money. “We would rather have schools choose this form of learning for children and we are reaching out to them as well in USA, Canada, UK and India,” said Singh.
The virtual world of SikhVille is continuously updated. “We constantly strive to create more engaging games, movies, cartoon series and learning exercises for members. Parent awareness is important to us and to that end we are working to create tools to help you control your child’s online play and also offer lots of creative resources to keep them busy offline as well,” said Singh.
Singh is simultaneously working on the theatrical release of 3-D animation version of Bhai Taru Singh movie.