November 23, 2022

Sindbad: No longer a fairytale in Baghdad

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Nabaa combines her passion for reading, education, motherhood and entrepreneurship. Her business, Sinbad Books, took flight first as an online space and was transformed into a real business. Despite the setbacks of COVID-19, Nabaa is ready to restart her social enterprise, enriching the young minds of Iraq.

As a mother, Nabaa knows how important education is, and how much reading plays a big role in developing young minds. Stemming from her hobby, reading, she created an online page called Sindbad Books, where she encourages other mothers to motivate their children to read. Not only that, but she also passes her experience to others and sells  Arabic, English and Kurdish children’s books for all ages to customers in Erbil and other governorates in Iraq.

Sinbad Cultural Club

Sindbad Books was a success and Nabaa began participating in book fairs and volunteering with civil society organisations within IDP and refugee camps. Soon followed the ‘Sindbad Cultural Club’, a first-of-its-kind space in Erbil where children of all ages would enjoy reading.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, all of Nabaa’s activities stopped. She could no longer sell books and Nabaa had to close the  space. Yet, Nabaa’s online activities continued  and she even recorded book readings for her young followers.

Nabaa’s home library

More and more people started asking her about her books and where they can check them out so Nabaa took this as a knocking opportunity and opened a section of her house for visitors to check her library and be able to buy anything that sparked their curiosity.

That’s when she stumbled upon Tamkeen, a programme organised by SPARK in collaboration with partners, Riyadah and IALD, funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), the Tadamon programme. Tamkeen is a support programme helping  talented, ambitious entrepreneurs by offering financial support, consultation support in various fields,workshops and training by experienced personnel.

“That [Tamkeen] provided me with financial support and consultation in marketing, finance, risk, health and safety…I benefited a lot from these workshops and [it] gave me great experience in my line of work,” says Nabaa.

Nabaa’s next steps in realising her dreams are clear for her now. She hopes to restart her space to have activities and a library that can supply a wealth of knowledge to young minds in Iraq. Following the aftermath of COVID-19, the global mentality has changed and online businesses are booming. Nabaa is ready to reach young minds online to encourage reading in this vastly digital age.