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During the Turkey-Syria earthquake, a startup offers books to children for free


An earthquake and major aftershock that devastated Turkey and Syria on February 6 affected over seven million children, according to the United Nations.

The founder of Syria-based startup KIDDO, Souhayla Saab, has been tirelessly working to ensure that children in the affected areas of Turkey and Syria have access to all their needs because of the earthquake.

KIDDO is a startup “made by women for children,” according to Saab. With several different books available for children up to seven years old, KIDDO allows parents to choose the best one for their child based on their age and preferences.

“Most of them were just happy to see colors and try to engage with the screen and the shows, and that was my ‘eureka moment’,” Saab said, adding that she needed to give them an alternative to enable children to choose books over phones.

“Children need to see colors to interact, and play. They learn by playing, and people need to have an economic solution, buying too many toys is not the answer for them, and in my mind, I know I need something sustainable, something helps not only people but also our plants,” she said.

By following the Montessori method of teaching, which is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play, it provides an interactive activity to the child so that there is enjoyment whilst learning.

“I also made sure to choose the correct color for each age stage, we chose for example black and white for the books made for children in the age range of one day to three months, as research shows that infants only see lights and shades at that stage,” Saab said.

Having worked as a translator for a company that works with autistic children and children with special needs, Saab said her expertise in the field helped her incorporate the right activities, and colors to use in the KIDDO books.

KIDDO is made with environmentally friendly, affordable and washable fabrics.

“All the books are hand made by women in Syria, I design the contents and they work on the book from the first step of cutting the shapes to organising the colors as needed, to the pasting of all activities in their places and doing the last magical touch that turns KIDDO from just a book to a friend,” she added.

“Like any start up, I have faced many challenges, some are related to the fact that the idea, even though it shouldn’t be but is a new thing in the Middle East area, there are other companies that make books but not as KIDDO, so I had to convince people of the idea, the good thing was that the minute any child gets KIDDO they fill in love with it and that was the proof parents needed to see,” Saab said.

She added that securing raw materials for the books are a challenge, followed by the right funding. “I am trying my best to keep the project up and running, but funding is one of the biggest challenges I’m facing,” she said.

Source: Arabian Business