How often do we wish that children would realise the value of hard-earned money? Artist Hanadi Alghanem aims to achieve just that with her social venture called Young Traders.
Raising a child can be a daunting task for any parent and an important element of this upbringing is to ensure that he or she is independent and responsible with money. Bahraini artist and mother Hanadi Alghanem spearheads a project to help children pick up essential life skills through setting up markets and selling their produce in the Kingdom.
Hanadi hit upon the idea as she was exploring ways to make her children recycle their toys. Enrolling children from her extended family alongside her kids, she set up the first Young Traders market in her Busaiteen neighbourhood in early 2012.
The children were asked to bring toys that were in a good condition and other home-made artefacts. They were responsible for setting price tags, displaying and marketing the merchandise themselves. Every participant had an allotted area along with a box for collecting the proceeds. In addition, each one had a notebook to keep accounts of expenditure and purchases.
The experience had a remarkable effect on her eight-year-old son. So she decided to expand the project. Word spread fast on Instagram and the Young Traders Market held this February saw 30 children aged between six and 12 selling their creations, such as toys, handicrafts, tea and cupcakes.
“Children learn the art of conversation with people outside the family circle; their ability to think for themselves deepens. They learn to deliberate over difficult situations and solve problems without external interference,” notes Hanadi.
“When a child markets goods and negotiates with the buyer, he or she enters an important social relationship. The child makes the first calculations by comparing prices, profits and losses, and values the demand of the merchandise.” Over the coming months, she plans to expand the project by including field trips to banks, where children will be taught to open bank accounts and store their savings for future use. A fine arts graduate from Halwan University in Egypt, Hanadi designs bags, t-shirts and clothes for children. As a self-motivated entrepreneur, the 36-year-old mother recognises that economic education is fundamental to the growth of children.
“I’d like children to be financially stable and self-reliant. Rather than waiting for a job, they should comprehend the lessons of life while they are students and aim to start ventures of their own when they graduate,” she says.
Given that children under the age of 15 comprise over a quarter of the Arab region’s population, the importance of instilling economic values at an early age cannot be over emphasised. Those interested in participating can visit @hanadi_arts on Instagram.