Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Beyond FUN: Alaafia Kids

Meet Jeanne Yacoubou, her husband, Malik, and their three children Amira, Latif, and Jamil. Malik and Jeanne met in Benin, Africa, when Jeanne worked there as a Peace Corps volunteer. They now live in Baltimore, where Jeanne founded Alaafia Kids “as a way to raise awareness of the experiences of different kinds of Americans and design products with them in mind.”

Jeanne Yacoubou’s inspiration to create her company was sparked by yet another playground instance of discrimination among children. When her daughter was three, other children refused to play with her. Jeanne spoke with an African-American mom whose child had suffered a similar experience. “So I thought I needed to act,” the teacher with multiple masters degrees states simply. “I did a little research and discovered some incredible statistics: 1 out of every 25 marriages in the United States alone is mixed! 7.2 million Americans indicated on the 2000 census that they were ‘mixed.’” Yacoubou adds that “a major goal of Alaafia Kids is to raise awareness and acceptance of interracial people (namely, children), in American society.”

Check out Alaafia Kids not only for handmade dolls, African clothes for children, and educational products, but for a unique collection of thoughtful reviews on interracial and multicultural titles for children and adults. Not only does Yacoubou cheer, “Viva, multiculturalism!”—Alaafia Kids celebrates it.


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