Muslim Link interviewed to Ottawa-based entrepreneur and university student Nayaelah Siddiqui, founder of EIDY, a product aimed at helping children celebrate Ramadan who live in non-Muslim majority countries.
How did you come up with the idea of EIDY?
I grew up in the Middle East, which is why I understand the true experience of Ramadan and Eid. The essence of the blessed month, Ramadan, used to be in the air throughout the month; it was hard not to get excited about it. The children here in Canada miss out on that fun learning aspect of Ramadan. This product aims to educate the child in fun and loving way, contributing to their knowledge foundation, and Insha’Allah (God Willing), further increase their interest in the religion.
I want to create gift packages that parents, neighbors, uncle/aunts, teachers, community leaders or even siblings can purchase to really show the children the importance of Ramadan and why it is such a blessed month.
The idea for EIDY hit me last December when I realized that children here don’t get the opportunity to understand the essence and benefits Ramadan has to offer. I realized the way, an interactive and educational way, could be a persuasive and enjoyable for kids to learn, understand and celebrate Ramadan. My vision with EIDY is to make Ramadan an enjoyable month for every child.
In the past six years, I was able to work with kids as young as 4 to 17 years of age. I have spent time as a part-time Badminton coach, youth outreach coordinator, [and] a Youth camp counsellor last summer, and have regularly organized events for kids and youth as part of the youth committee at the local mosque—SNMC (South Nepean Muslim Community). These experiences have given me lots of insight on the gaps between the kids here and their connections with Islam.
How did you design the product?
It took lots of research and focus group sessions with parents of young children and some youth to provide me with the information needed to decide what the final product should look like. I also spoke to the local kids to pinpoint what they find exciting. Once, the research was done, the production took lots of trial and error, especially getting the journal right.
The package contains the Ramadan journal, which has lots of activities, a prayer tracker and challenges for kids to participate. The kids also receive a custom letter with their name on it and stickers which can be used to track their prayers. The journal also contains a section to cut out a pre-made template of a lantern, so that kids can get creative about decorating their homes. Another thing included in the package is a badge (pin) that says “I am Ramadan Ready”. This is to motivate kids about Ramadan and help them feel excited.
I am most excited and hopeful about these challenges. They were specifically designed to help kids learn about the five pillars of Islam, at their own individual level and are a fun way to get kids engaged and also interact with other children their age. To be honest, I think anybody, be it a kid or adult can participate in these challenges and have fun while doing so.
My goal is to one day connect kids all across Canada during the month of Ramadan and participate in a countrywide challenge that will be featured online. This will keep them engaged and also excited about seeing what other kids are up to.
This year, I had a limited amount of time to get the package together, since Ramadan was right around the corner. I have many more ideas and I am also looking forward to the feedback from customers to improve on the packages for Eid, and Insha’Allah, Ramadan next year.
This is your first business, what has that experience been like so far?
I must say it’s a little challenging, especially trying to figure out things as I go but I love learning so I find this experience quite rewarding and worthwhile. I get to learn a lot each day about different aspects of the business. There is so much to a business that one doesn’t realize, so many tiny considerations to keep in mind, it has been a little overwhelming, but Insha’Allah, it’s my first try at a profit business, so we will see how it goes. The encouragement and support from family and friends has been an empowering factor as well and I am determined to keep going.
My goal is and always will be to give back to the community which is why for the Ramadan Ready package I have decided to donate $1 from every purchase to the residents of Fort McMurray. Also, I am giving the customers the opportunity to contribute a gift as a sadaqa (voluntary charity). I am glad that few of my customers are seeing value in what I have created and its benefits and they have required me to order Ramadan ready packages in bulk.
Alhamdulillah (Thanks to God), I am content with people understanding what change I am trying to bring into our young generation who require our support in every way and a way you can relate to them in the best manner and Insha’Allah EIDY is here to offer that to every child.
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