As a bi-lingual English and Arabic speaking mother of two toddlers searching for entertaining and educational (or at least in some way intellectually, spiritually or morally beneficial) content for them to watch on Youtube or TV, I learnt very early on how young children become immediately attracted to, entranced and even attached to certain animations and cartoons. To my great bewilderment, before my daughter could even walk, she was bewitched by a certain Russian speaking cartoon whose characters and antics she found easily accessible and endearing. I observed and learnt about the aspects that captured her attention and tried in vain to find equivalents in terms of Arabic speaking content. Cartoons such as the highly successful “Peppa Pig” serve to guide children to develop good manners and accurately pronounce the English language and accent with story lines based on settings and scenarios that a child growing up in England would encounter in their everyday lives. But there is no equivalent Arabic program nor an equivalent Islamic program. I realized there was a gap in the market needing to be filled:
A cartoon portraying captivating storylines and lovable characters, within settings and scenarios permeated with researched modern Arabic heritage, interior and exterior design, spices, customs, traditions and values. A cartoon that would be released in accurately spoken Arabic, and made available in the many other languages. All with the express motive of subliminally teaching children invaluable universal morals and virtuous conduct that would offer guidance of “exemplary conduct” through their lives and in their daily interactions with others. Where better to get the guidance for such wholesome conduct than from the Holy Quran. The “moral” or “lesson” for each episode is loosely inspired by an aya / passage from the Quran that is quoted by a character during the episodes. Each “aya” is especially selected to extol universal and timeless wisdom – ranging from (as some examples) respectful manners and speech; generously caring for others and expressing gratitude for one’s blessings and achievements; to the importance of honesty and fairness in judgement; to respecting the natural environment and animal kingdom; to highlighting the benefits of patience and perseverance as well as of motivated hard work and zest for acquiring knowledge in order to achieve one’s goals and aspirations.
“Sara and Fares”, a 5-year old bubbly girl and her loving twin brother invite viewers aged between to 2 to 8 years of age to share in their adventures set within and around a blissful landscape of a traditional mountain cottage surrounded by fields and farmland, which they inhabit within a loving family environment of active parents and grandparents along with their charming array of pets and farm animals – each endowed with endearing or humorous characteristics: Whether it be the wise ex-racehorse called Jawad or the cheeky cats Lilou & Milou or the busy chickens on the farm… Sara and Fares are never short of colourful characters to add an unexpected twist to their everyday tasks and activities.
Lively and upbeat, each episode entrances viewers with the escapades of Sara and Fares, that whilst fun, engaging and reflecting the natural cheekiness of childhood curiosity and quest for adventure, is interwoven with a wholesome lesson of universal values and morals at its heart – directly inspired by carefully selected passages from the Quran.