Video blog: Why Toffee TV is awesome
An online initiative uses animation to capture traditional stories for Pakistani children. What fun!
I've always been concerned about what children watch on TV every day. The absence of quality, locally-produced cartoons in Pakistan has always been disheartening for me. I remember a teacher who went through a lot of trouble and spent a huge amount of money only to order a Spanish cartoon TV series Pocoyo for her pre-school children, because the ones that are aired here in Pakistan are not appropriate.
A recent laudable effort by Rabia Garib and Talea Zafar, called ToffeeTV, was a welcome sign.
The online initiative is based on promoting our language and culture and features animated videos of long-forgotten Urdu short stories and poems. In these videos, the stories or poems are not merely read out, but most of the words are also seen typed in the video along with what they represent. Meanings, translations of words and lyrics to songs have also been added to the description of the videos.
Apart from stories, the website has more animated how-to videos, which include drawings and easy cooking recipes by Poppy Agha. The website has a subscribe button through which people can receive all latest updated videos to their email account. The team is also planning to launch their mobile apps by this Eid.
Before this, there have been a locally-produced programs for children (like TV channel, Wikkid) which had better content than on channels like Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, but they have not been very successful due to lack of promotion and coverage. Parents don't seem too concerned about TV content and have no desire to shift their children from international channels to our home-based ones.
Another channel BabyTV, specifically meant for pre-school children, has gained massive popularity among the little ones in our country, but it also lacks elements of our culture.
ToffeeTv has more than 60 videos uploaded now and is still in its initial stages. The animation quality cannot be compared with most of the cartoons that children here like to watch, but nonetheless, the effort needs to be appreciated and promoted so that more of such stuff can be seen in our country making the experience of cartoon-watching much more worthwhile.