MEM Plautdietsch Project
The goals of MEM in Bolivia are Evangelism, Education and Economic Development; working primarily with Colony Mennonites whose first language is Plautdietsch (Low German).
Plautdietsch needed to be taught in schools so that students could learn to read and write in their native language. Our first language is usually our heart language. Among our Mennonite people, the gospel is much clearer in Plautdietsch.
There was no school material in Plautdietsch, so MEM started writing a Plautdietsch curriculum that could be used in schools. Book 1 was finished and printed in 2018 and Book 2 just became available this year.
The plan is to have a complete curriculum from grade 1 through grade 12. Elementary books will focus primarily on grammar, phonetics, and comprehension. The high school books will be focusing on Mennonite History. It is important that students learn about their background and where their forefathers came from. These books are now being used in schools in Bolivia, Mexico, United States, and Canada.
Helena Doerksen, a former student of the Villa Nueva School, is now passing on what she learned, and is teaching Plautdietsch at the Villa Nueva School.
We now have a considerable selection of Plautdietsch music and radio programs. Our language is becoming “cool”.
This article was originally published in the EMMC Recorder Vol 58 No 5