Revitalizing Arabic …Social Entrepreneurship at its best

When I spent time with my little boy, his Arabic skills depressed me as an Arabic speaker parent. I tired to solve this issue by searching for Arabic educational books with interesting look and feel that would interest him to learn. And that search led me to find the fascinating world of the “Little Thinking Minds”

The creative entrepreneurs behind this initiative are Rama Kayyali Jardaneh and Lamia Tabaa Bibi, who are determined to make a difference in our kids lives by changing the way they see and learn Arabic. Being on the Finalist list of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards 2014, Rama Kayyali was determined to bring back the charm to beautiful language. The Winner of MIT Enterprise Forum 2014, the Winner of Jordanian Web Awards (education) 2014  and the Winner of PANARAB WEB AWARDS 2011, we owe it to Little Thinking Minds for revitalizing the Arabic language. In this feature, we shed the light on Rama and her award winning business.

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Q: Tell us about Little Thinking Minds and how this idea came to life?

A: Little Thinking Minds (LTM) advances the quality of Arabic fluency and literacy globally. We are leaders in the creation and publication of engaging educational Arabic content for children in the form of videos, songs, apps and e-books.
In the era of rapidly expanding Arabic media, Lamia Tabaa Bibi and I, noticed the marketplace was sorely lacking high quality, engaging and educational original Arabic content for young children. The vast majority of television programs for young children were produced in the West or Japan and dubbed into Arabic. These materials lacked the richness of language and culture of the Arab world. We were also new mothers and strongly desired to provide our children, and mothers like us, with high quality media content.

Through acute observation of our own children and other families, we had developed an understanding of the child’s mind. We wanted to provide the young with content that attracted their attention, entertained them, and engaged their ongoing interest and imaginations, while educating them in their mother tongue. We wanted to ignite their children’s minds with excitement for learning in Arabic.

Out of this desire, we created Little Thinking Minds in 2004, with its headquarters in Amman, Jordan, followed by an office at DMCC Dubai. We serve a global network of distributers and retailers across 11 countries including MENA, Australia, UK, Canada, USA and Singapore.

We are proud recipients of the GESS Award for Early Years Resource in 2015, All Children’s Reading, USA, 2014.

With the recent launch of our Arabic Levelled Reading Portal ireadarabic.com across partner schools in Jordan and UAE, we consider ourselves as game changers in the world of Arabic education.

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Q: Who can benefit from Little Thinking Minds?

A: Our key customers are native Arabic speakers around the globe who are looking to teach their children (under age 9) Arabic language basics. Parents and educators from around the world are turning to our products as a valuable resource to advance Arabic literacy.  We enjoy an online following of over 13 million and over 200,000 digital downloads of our apps on iTunes & Google Play store & content through aggregators worldwide.

Q: In the new digital era, how do you see the shift in children learning methods? how did you adapt in “Little Thinking Minds” to that shift?

A: Children are advancing rapidly with access to latest devices and technology. With dependancy on clicks to ‘get it done’ interest in reading and attention span has reduced majorly. Educators need to make major leaps in advancing their technological skills to meet the growing demand of integrated and smart teaching methods and address the gaps in literacy levels.  There has been a sporadic rise of an evolved ecosystem that consists of complex relationships between information and communication technologies and education. We aim to provide perspectives and solutions at all levels, from the micro of specific applications or instances of use in classrooms to macro concerns of national education goals and major projects; from classes of early learning to parents & educators; from teachers and administrators, to researchers and designers; we work tirelessly to innovate and improve our products with regular updates and features to serve the needs of this ever changing apatite.

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Q: Obviously Arabic is the main language across the region. But with so many nationalities living and working along side the locals,  Arabic language takes the back seat in certain countries . How do you see your company’s role in preserving the national identities of those countries?

A: Though there is a large influx of expatriate population, we do see a keen interest in expat parents to assist their children with developing early Arabic literacy skills. In the United Arab Emirates, Arabic is a necessary part of early curriculum and our Levelled Arabic Reading Portal Ireadarabic.com has gained wide adoption by schools that consist of both native and non-native students. We strive to partner with local and regional initiatives to work on the preservation of cultural heritage. We do this by developing short educative clips on culture and history, influential figures in Arab heritage, like Om Kolthoum and Taha Hussein etc. We also develop seasonal culture and area specific videos to depict the tradition of local festivals such as Eid, Ramdan etc. and days of National significance like KSA National Day, UAE National Day etc.

Q: The Number of Middle Eastern women entrepreneurs are rising with the majority of hot shot startups being founded by women. As female entrepreneur/s to what you owe your success?

A: We are committed to the widespread of Arabic literacy and this mission at heart enables us to drive our business forward. As a mother, I am able to associate with the frustration of parents with the major lack of age appropriate Arabic content on the market. We have received much appreciation and recognition for the work we do and this only inspires us to do more.

Lamia

Q: What do you think of Trending5000 as a the Middle East’s dedicated platform for Small Businesses and Startups?

A: Trending5000 is a great platform to give a voice to Small Businesses and startups who strive to be noticed in the ‘Big Brands’ saturated market of the Middle East. By allowing Entrepreneurs to showcase their companies and its offering,  it is assisting to penetrate the market by helping them align with the right investors and business leads.

To know more about Little Thinking Minds products, check their page on www.Trending5000.com by clicking here

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