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Scotland's Children and Young People’s Commissioner Nicola Killean shared a new illustrated Gaelic book on human rights for very young children on Friday (November 3).

The Commissioner celebrated A’ Coimhead air ar Còraichean (Let’s Explore Our Rights) – aimed at children aged up to five – with nursery children at Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce in Edinburgh. 

The book, illustrated by Corinna Campbell, from Inverness, takes young children on a journey to discover rights like having a safe home, the right to be healthy, to learn, and to play, and features iconic Scots landmarks like Edinburgh Castle, Clydeside and Tarbat Ness Lighthouse near Tain. 

An audio and video version has been recorded by Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce P6 pupil Mirabelle. The 10-year-old said: “It was fun to have the opportunity to read the book for people. It’s good to have it in Gaelic and in English so that we can learn in both. I like that ‘Rights Rabbit’ works in Gaelic too – ‘Coineanach nan Chòraichean!’” 

Commissioner Nicola Killean said: “Let’s Explore Our Rights explains to very young children in a way they can understand what rights are and why they are important. 

“The book was published earlier this year and we are delighted to have a Gaelic edition. All children should be able to access information in their own language and this book will help practitioners to have those first conversations – in Gaelic – about human rights with young children.  

“Children are never too young to start learning about their rights and, longer term, that knowledge will empower them to be able to challenge adults when their rights aren’t being respected.” 

Jennifer McHarrie, Director of Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “It’s great that a resource like this will now be available in Gaelic. It’s important that children and young people can learn about their rights in their preferred language. It’s also vital for the growth and development of the language that resources are available in Gaelic relating to all areas of people's lives.” 

The Commissioner’s office is providing the Gaelic edition of the book to all Gaelic-medium schools in Scotland and will have a stock on request. The book has been created in English, BSL, Braille, and there are audio versions available online. It has provided a copy of the English version of the book to every local authority nursery in Scotland, and has a supply for childminders and other nurseries.  

Earlier Faclair na Gàidhlig Board of Management and staff announced the launch of their new website and Ionad Faclair na Gàidhlig  at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

Faclair na Gàidhlig will provide an authoritative, comprehensive and accessible historical dictionary of Scottish Gaelic, facilitated by the development of ground-breaking dictionary technologies. Faclair na Gàidhlig is being compiled using historical principles, similar to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST), and will take its place among these respected dictionaries.

Staff are said to have worked tirelessly on the development of their own dictionary excerpting and writing system, Meanma, to ensure that entries published on the new website show the depth of the work that has been put into entries. 

Ionad Faclair na Gàidhlig is a long-term partnership initiative involving Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, and the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde.

The Centre is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Dr Gillian Munro, Principal investigator for Faclair na Gàidhlig, said: “Faclair na Gàidhlig Board of Management are delighted to launch both the new Ionad Faclair na Gàidhlig and the new Faclair na Gàidhlig website.

“Ionad Faclair na Gàidhlig, based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and the new website are important milestones in the development of the inter-university project, Faclair na Gàidhlig, the aim of which is to produce a high-quality dictionary for the Gaelic language."

Helen Cross, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said:  “We are proud to have been involved in the development of Faclair na Gàidhlig from the very start. Both the new centre and the website will enrich the Gaelic language and its associated culture and heritage.”

Ealasaid MacDonald, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Ceannard (CEO), said: “This is a big step for Faclair na Gàidhlig, a project Bòrd na Gàidhlig are happy to be able to support. The new website and Ionad Faclair na Gàidhlig will be valuable resources for Gaelic speakers and the project staff.”