Ofu Lera! or "Hello!" in Beria

My name is AlSadig Sadig, and I need your help to bring our language into the 21st Century!

Beria is my mother tongue, and the language of the Zaghawa people, an oral culture that has scattered around the globe.

I was born in Mashro Sak Alnam, a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan, in 1987. As children, me and my friends were beaten just for speaking our own language. Since then, it has been a dream that I share with many others, to make it possible for us not only to speak Beria freely, but also to be able to read and write it!

You see, Beria was originally a spoken language, until Teacher Adam Tager, a native speaker like myself, began developing a written alphabet of the language in during the 1970’s, but he passed away before he could see the fruit of his work. Later on, Dr. Siddick Adam took to the task of introducing the Berian alphabet to the now archaic ANSI code, the only vestige of our language in the digital realm.

Atau (Teacher) Borme and I joined the line in 2012, when we started a Youtube channel where we post lessons to read and write Beria, and in 2018 we published the first book to reach even more people.

But this is the 21st century! Books are not enough, and what is access to the internet if you can’t write in your mother tongue?! Hundreds of thousands of Beria speakers around the world want to be able to write our language on our computers and smartphones, to communicate on Whatsapp or wish our friends a Happy Birthday on Facebook! We want to be able to read the stories of our people on Wikipedia, and have our grandmothers’ recipes safe on the cloud.

We are ready to start a three-month development project to make Beria available for all operating systems and in all platforms, but we need your support to gather the funds to make it happen!

Udu labari! or "Thank you!"

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

We work to preserve, strengthen and spread the Berian tongue. 


There are approximately 1.000.000 Zaghawa speakers. Most of them live in Chad and the Darfur region of Sudan, but many others have been displaced by the South Sudanese Civil War, and have formed strong communities in neighbouring countries and outside of Africa, in the Middle East, Europe, and the US. 


 

THE PROPOSAL  

Bring Beria to the 21st century, make Berian digital writing possible!

We’ve written the book. We impart lessons. Our next step is to put the language in our keyboards. 


We must have the opportunity to interact online in our mother tongue. 
The Beria Keyboard App is an Android/iOS keyboard featuring Beria characters. Its goal is to allow Zaghawa speakers to write in our native language online, to promote the preservation and growth of the language and culture.


This keyboard will grant us access to the relatively new digital realm, which implies new content production, registration of information, and communication between peers, to preserve the language across borders, and throughout the digital revolution of our times.
 

THE DEVELOPMENT


Since Beria characters are not in Unicode yet, we need to create additional typography to be used in the keyboard extension.
 

  • Typography set

Any keyboard has an specific layout such as QWERTY, Dvorak, QWERTZ, etc. The user may interact using the specified keyboard layout.

 

In every word we will write, in every message we will send, you will be present and we will be thanking you.

 


Your contribution matters. 

You will allow millions to communicate and you will change the history of a language. 

 

Sponsor this revolution! 

Udu labari! 

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