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Sofia Zahid: “There is a tendency to abandon the Arabic language by thinking that it is acquired”

Sofia Zahid / Jodour.

A mother, engineer, and entrepreneur all at once, Sofia Zahid is above all the woman behind "Jodour", an educational game brand based in Casablanca that helps you learn the Arabic language and its cultural heritage. Meeting with Sofia Zahid, an entrepreneur of Moroccan origin who has been able to reconcile children and adults with the history and geography of Morocco.

If life were a cartoon, Sofia Zahid would be the good fairy. A few years ago, she challenged herself to teach children about the Arabic language and its cultural heritage in a playful way through her educational game brand “Jodour”, which she created in Casablanca, Morocco. A necessity more than just a start-up idea, at a time when her little boy is celebrating his 2nd birthday. “This is the age at which children experience a “boom” in language. However, he was progressing mainly in French. I read him stories in French, but I didn’t find any interesting content to expose him to Arabic and help him take his first steps that language”, says Sofia.

Jodour, an adventure that makes sense

Maybe that’s where her project emerged from. “Later on, I noticed among the slightly older children around me that they didn’t know much about the history of Morocco and sometimes even about the geography of our country,” says the bright entrepreneur. We have a heritage that is very rich and I thought it was a pity that it is not transmitted in a playful way, which is the best method when addressing children children. By looking for content and finding some that wasn’t really relevant, I thought I should try to do something about it.

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An idea that makes sense from the beginning and that will gradually proceed on its way. As a good engineer, Sofia will think about the concept, the innovative ways to produce it and take her time to find a name for it, an identity that resonates with the commitment of her future start-up. “The word “Jodour” comes from the Arabic word “judhur” to mean “roots,” she explains. The aim is to offer innovative educational resources to transmit heritage to children and reconnect them to their roots in a playful way.

Little Jodour has grown up

Like her own child, Sofia has seen her project grow over the months. Aware of the need to renew herself in order to capture the attention of a child, the Moroccan entrepreneur has been able to diversify her products range to make Jodour a brand more than just a game. “On our website, we offer educational games but also books. For example, Bladi’Map is a puzzle that aims to showcase Morocco’s 12 regions in a fun way. There are also illustrations that picture and symbolize one of the region’s treasures, whether it is natural, architectural or economic. She continues: “In addition to the educational resources we design, we organize playful immersion workshops in classical Arabic for children. Many of our customers, mainly parents, have come to us with this need.”

Pioneers with a recipe for success

With hindsight, Sofia Zahid became aware of her new status. Thanks to its unique initiative in Morocco, it has become a pioneer. “I think we could say that we are the only designers of educational games in Morocco,” she says. “It is true that we tend to think that the Arabic language is acquired just as the Moroccan heritage for children born here, but we have noticed more and more in recent years that with the school system, with schools being generally private, and also at home, we focus mainly on foreign languages like French or English. That’s fine, but we tend to neglect the Arabic language.

In a few years, the Jodour brand has conquered young and old, each more eager than the next to discover Arab riches. A success for this entrepreneur who did not expect so much. “Since the launch and in the overall vision of jodour, the goal was to offer content especially for children, but it is true for example with our game Bladi’Map, that we have had a lot of feedback from parents who told us that they have learned things by using it with their children”.