Tuxpaint - A Swahili Gift That

Tux Paint - A creative tool for children

Children in East Africa face many barriers to learning the computer skills that will prepare them to thrive in the global economy. Today, the first Swahili-language software for children is being released, the result of a collaboration between the Kamusi Project at Yale University and the Open Swahili Localization Project (OSLP) at the University of Dar es Salaam. The software is a complete Swahili adaptation of Tux Paint, a popular free and open source drawing program for children.

The program will also be useful to students of Swahili. Swahili, the official language of the African Union, is the most widely spoken African language. It is taught at over one hundred universities in the United States, and in many other countries. Swahili was chosen as the language of Kwanzaa, the African-American celebration of family, community, and culture that begins on December 26. Parents and students who download the software onto their home computers will find that the program teaches many Swahili words and concepts.

Tux Paint in Swahili is the second widely-available result of a formal technical collaboration between the Kamusi Project and OSLP. The two projects are working together to develop several innovative computer applications for Swahili, and to improve computer access for users in East Africa. OSLP recently released a Swahili spell-checker for Linux that was based in part on data from the Kamusi Project. OSLP (www.kilinux.org) is based at the University of Dar es Salaams Department of Computer Science. The Kamusi Project (www.yale.edu/swahili) is an undertaking of the Council on African Studies at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

Tux Paint in Swahili is available for Windows and Linux computers, with a Macintosh version to be released in 2005.

Acknowledments: Swahili Tux Paint was possible thanks to the help of Bill Kendrick (Tux Paint main developer, New breed software), John Popplewell (Win32 Tux Paint build) and David Fraser (Pootle).